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Anemone at our local Oregon Coast Acquarium

Anemones—Sex Maniacs of the Sea

This anemone lives at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which is about 20 minutes from where we live. (My wife, Toni, snapped this with her iPhone.)

I couldn’t help but wonder if anemones are all one sex, or if there are males and females. That’s when I learned there are not only male and female anemones, but a small number of hermaphrodite anemones as well. I also discovered that anemones have gonads and they are hornier than their majestic little tentacles might lead you to think.

Anemones reproduce both sexually (egg and sperm) and asexually, which would be the human equivalent of creating a child each time you masturbated—a sobering thought if there ever was one.

Anemones that are created with sperm and egg are more diverse and probably hardier because they receive genes from two different parents. Anemones that are created asexually have zero diversity. They are an exact clone of the mother ship. But reproducing asexually is the better option when anemones need to rapidly populate an area because, like masturbation, asexual reproduction requires no partner and no need to shave or shower first.

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