Study: Anemones fight as organized armies

Aug 24, 2005

Researchers say they've found clashing colonies of sea anemones fight as organized armies, with distinct castes of warriors, scouts and other types.

Sea anemones -- Anthopleura elegantissima -- live in large colonies of genetically identical clones on boulders around the tide line. Where two colonies meet they form a distinct boundary zone.

Anemones that contact an animal from another colony will fight, hitting each other with special tentacles that leave patches of stinging cells stuck to their opponent.

David Ayre of the University of Wollongong, Australia, and Rick Grosberg of the University of California-Davis previously studied individual anemone polyps' fighting strategies one-on-one.

Now they've been able to study two entire colonies as they clash.

The study shows very complex, sophisticated and coordinated behaviors can emerge at the level of the group, even when the group members are very simple organisms with nothing resembling a brain, Grosberg said.

The research was published in the journal Animal Behavior.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Scientists find meteoritic evidence of Mars water reservoir

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gene decides whether coral relative will fuse or fight

Mar 19, 2009

When coral colonies meet one another on the reef, they have two options: merge into a single colony or reject each other and aggressively compete for space. Now, a report in the March 19th Current Biology, a Cell Press public ...

Recommended for you

Politics no problem, say US and Russian spacefarers

13 hours ago

US-Russian ties may have returned to Cold War levels, but an astronaut and a cosmonaut gearing up for the longest flight on the International Space Station said Thursday politics would not disrupt their work ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.