The anemone was only ~7 mm across. It had lots of tentacles, and the tentacles were narrow and tapered to a point. We could also see that the tentacles were banded with white.
From the side you could see the translucent orange column:
We spent some time researching the identity of this little anemone and it turned out to be Metridium exile, a species that Cadet Hand described in 1955!
Here's a close-up of the oral disc and tentacles (below). Note this species often has 96 tentacles!
A few facts about Metridium exile:
- It's distributed from British Columbia to Carmel, California.
- It's usually found on the outer coast (in contrast to its more common relative, Metridium senile, that's found in bays).
- It's small — the largest specimens are ~12 mm in diameter.
- It reproduces asexually via longitudinal fission. (In the field, we saw a cluster of several small individuals that were presumably clone mates.)
We had a hard time finding photographs of Metridium exile, so here's another beautiful image that Eric took:
Thanks, Cadet, for noticing and describing this wonderful local sea anemone!