Sponges are made of tiny animals living together in colonies. You can search for
sponges under stones and pebbles in rock pools or on the underside of over hanging
rock ledges where it is damp and shaded from direct sunlight. They can be found on
nearly all rocky shores in Scotland.
The breadcrumb sponge is the most common sponge found on the shore. It is flat and
can be found in various colours but most commonly green or orange. On its surface
the breadcrumb sponge has a number of large holes, which look like miniature
volcanoes. The sponge draws in water through these holes, which it filters for
minute food particles and oxygen. This water is then pushed out through more numerous
but much smaller holes that are difficult to see.
The sponges, which you find on the shores of Scotland, are related to the large
sponges which were used in the bath and which live in warmer water in the tropics.
Too many of these have been collected and now most bath sponges are man-made.
Sea anemones are animals. They are called anemones because they look like an
open flower. The petals of the flower are tentacles with which the sea anemone
captures small pieces of food. They capture food by firing tiny poisoned darts
on a thread. They then pull their prey into their mouths using their tentacles.
The Beadlet Anemone is the most common sea anemone on the shore, and it is found
all around Scotland. It is usually red or green with a ring of blue dots at the
base of its tentacles. It lives attached to rocks. The tentacles are very sensitive
and can be drawn back very quickly when touched. This is so that the anemones can
stop small fish nipping off its tentacles. You can see this by lightly touching