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Underwater Fireworks

It isn’t often we stumble across a firework we’ve no intention of trying to get our hands on. But this particular show-stopper is something of a unique specimen.

The Firework Anemone, or the Pachycerianthus multiplicatus as it’s otherwise known, is part of a family of marine creatures which are part-animal, part-plant, and like to live in the muddy waters at the bottom of rivers and sea lochs along the Western coasts of Scotland and Ireland. It’s an unusual sight in British waters according to the photographer, Kirsty Andrews.

“These firework anemones are relatively rare in the UK in that they only grow in silty habitats, in this case in Loch Duich, a silt-bottomed sea loch in Northern Scotland. It’s an interesting and unusual habitat in that you see nothing but grey as you descend, until these anemones, or one of 3 British sea pens which are also present, loom out of the darkness.”

The image won Kirsty the British and Irish categories in the prestigious 2014 British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP) DIVER print competition and has given the shy Firework Anemone its chance to shine.

anenome©Kirsty Andrews   Image reproduced by kind permission of Kirsty Andrews

It’s not hard to see why it’s got the moniker it has; it’s a rippling, spectacular explosion of colour that illuminates the dark seas where it lives… and it just goes to show that nature can give us a run for our money, even when it’s 100 metres below the surface.

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