Dangerous beauty of the night dive: sea anemone Alicia pretiosa

Alicia pretiosa, Dahab, Red Sea, night dive

Alicia pretiosa is a species of sea anemone in the family Aliciidae and can be found from the Red Sea and Indian Ocean to Central Pacific. This sea anemone is rare, but can sometimes be seen at night, usually on mixed reef slopes near corals and seagrass. It looks very attractive. But touching its long translucent tentacles is highly not recommended. The tentacles are covered with small tubercles, as can be seen in the picture. These are nematocyst batteries and a powerful sting can kill small prey and stun medium-sized prey.

It is generally believed that such sea anemones feed on zooplankton. But this photo shows that their appetite can cope with an impressive predator – a fireworm!

Capturing a fireworm, Ras Abu Galum

The sea anemone Alicia pretiosa comes in a variety of colours. This photo was taken in the Philippines.

Note the small but brave nudibranch – anemone predator!

One of the most beautiful Aeolid nudibranchs feeds on this extremely dangerous sea anemone – meet a brave Limenandra barnosii!

Limenandra barnosi, Anilao

I still have to find a Limenandra barnosi in the Egypt Red Sea, where I live.

More information about nudibranchs you can find in the Nudibranchs of the Coral Triangle book

Best Regards, Andrey Ryanskiy

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