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: There's a crack forming on Rosetta's 67P: Is it breaking up?

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

Image: Jupiter's cratered moon, Callisto

18 minutes ago

The speckled object depicted here is Callisto, Jupiter's second largest moon. This image was taken in May 2001 by NASA's Galileo spacecraft, which studied Jupiter and its moons from 1995 until 2003.

Helicopter could be 'scout' for Mars rovers

24 minutes ago

Getting around on Mars is tricky business. Each NASA rover has delivered a wealth of information about the history and composition of the Red Planet, but a rover's vision is limited by the view of onboard ...

Spacecraft Integral manoeuvres for the future

2 hours ago

Since 2002, ESA's Integral spacecraft has been observing some of the most violent events in the Universe, including gamma-ray bursts and black holes. While it still has years of life ahead, its fuel will ...

Huge asteroid 2004 BL86 to fly by Earth

2 hours ago

Asteroid 2004 BL86, slated to swoosh by Earth on Jan. 26, is the largest known body to pass near our home planet until 2027. But there's no need to panic as the astronomers estimate that the 500 meters-wide ...

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.