Sea anemones sometimes eat…ants. But why?

Published July 2, 2021

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National Geographic covered research by Christopher Wells who studied the diet of the giant plumose anemone (Metridium farcimen). After conducting an analysis using DNA barcoding, Wells stared at what he saw, National Geographic reported. There were hits for all the usual suspects — copepods, barnacles, crab larvae, and the like — tiny creatures that wouldn’t be able to escape the giant plumose anemones’ feathery, venomous clutches. There was also a curious amount of insect DNA, including three flies, one bee, and one beetle. But the most unusual matches came from a species known as the yellow meadow ant, or Lasius pallitarsis, which made up 98 percent of the insect DNA found in the sea anemones’ guts.

 

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