One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A sea anemone.
- ‘It has been seen that varying temperatures have a dramatic effect on the growth rates of some actinians.’
- ‘Cold-water coral mound dominated by Lophelia pertusa and colonised by orange actinians and a white anthipathrian.’
- ‘Even on reefs, most species of host actinians are inconspicuous, unlike their partner fish.’
- ‘However, actinians, like all coelenterates, capture and digest animal prey with their nematocysts.’
- ‘The larger, more conspicuous include other species of cold-water coral, actinians and sponges.’
Mid 18th century: from the modern Latin genus name Actinia (from Greek aktis, aktin- ‘ray’) + -an.
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