Brooding Anemones


UPON SURFACING, I heard a fellow diver ask, “How cute are those brooding anemones?” This observation piqued my interest because I’d never heard of this behavior despite a lifetime of watching nature documentaries and reading dive magazines. It became my mission to find and photograph this unique behavior. 

Brooding anemones can care for hundreds of babies and fold up to cover their brood should danger appear. The tiny anemones stay until they are large enough to protect themselves, then crawl away, and the cycle continues. 

I found this bubble-gum-colored mother and her dozens of children clinging to a kelp stalk in the current-swept waters of Browning Pass in northern Vancouver Island on a cold day in March. It didn’t matter how frigid the water was; these tiny cuties lit a fire inside me. 

We don’t know much about brooding anemones, but based on my observations this is likely a seasonal event. I’m already burning to see them again next spring. AD

Baby Lisbeth’s brooding anemones (Epiactis lisbethae) cling to their mom on a kelp frond off Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

© Alert Diver — Q3 2023