Colourful crustose anemones of the genus Zoanthus enjoy a constantly high demand and are also suitable for beginners in marine aquaristics.
Other species are perhaps better left out of our aquariums, such as the gitige Palythoa mutuki!
A speciality among the crustose anemones are the species of the genus Epizoanthus, they are visually less interesting, but they are characterised by a special symbiosis with other marine animals.
Epizoanthus papillosus is widespread and quite common in the seas around the British Isles, with the exception of the Irish Sea, the English Channel and the Southern Bight, and these small anemones are also found on the east coast of the USA and Canada.
The small anemones are conspicuous because they "move", but they do this with the help of the hermit crab Anapagurus laevis, but sometimes they are seen as smaller free-living colonies.
A colony of Epizoanthus anemones first enclose a hermit crab and begin to dissolve the shell the crab was in and settle there permanently.
Advantages for the anemones:
- The anemones, which depend on catching zooplankton, are repeatedly carried to new, food-rich regions with the help of the crab
- If the anemones are attacked by a predator, the crayfish can bring them out of the danger zone fairly quickly.
Advantages for the crayfish:
- The hermit crab gets additional security from the cnidocytes of the anemones.
This form of symbiosis is called Carcinoecium colony.
Not all Epizoanthus anemones form a symbiotic relationship with crustaceans, Epizoanthus illoricatus has been found on a parasitic manyborster (Eunicidae).
Duseideia papillosa Johnston, 1842
Dysidea papillosa (Johnston, 1842)
Epizoanthus americanus (Synonym)
Epizoanthus incrustatus Düben & Koren, 1847
Epizoanthus papillosum Cutress & Pequegnat, 1960·
Sidisia incrustata (Düben & Koren, 1847)