:  The Colonial Anemones
Anthozoa: Colonial Anemones
Body Form: Zooanthids generally exist in dense colonies with individuals polyps connected by stolons. Some species incorporate the sand into their bodies for support. Most species' polyps have short tentacles arrangd around a flattened oral discs. The outer skin is composed of chitin and cilia in the gut help to ciruculate food and water throughout the gastrovascular cavity (stomach). Some species are symbiotic with sponges
Natural History: The zoanthids include the button polyps and colonial anemones. Even though they have an anemone-like feeding response they do not possess a strong sting. Colonies can grow quickly and overtake large areas. Zoanthids produce palytoxin which is highly lethal and likely to avoid predaction and competitors. They also produce serotonin, the human brain hormone. Most species are very hardy and tolerant of poor water quality. Taxonomy of the zoanthids is currently under revision and species identification is very difficult.
Stick Polyps, Snake Polyps, Tube Polyps, Sea Mat, Button Polyps