The sea-anemone not only looks like the flower of that name, but it has something that reminds us of the vine called the Virginia Creeper. The anemone is fastened to a rock by a sucking disc. It holds on with this sucker a great deal tighter than the vine clings to a wall it is climbing, with its little sucker feet. If you try to pull a sea-anemone up, you might think it has a strong root running down into the rock. But it has only a sucker foot for clinging. Sea-anemones have been known to move, but as a rule they spend their lives contentedly, fastened to rocks near which they are born.

This use of a sucker foot by the sea-anemone and the vine, is one of the many cases in which nature gets hold of a good idea and uses it over and over again. And she uses the sucker foot for plants and animals just as she uses the seed or egg for ferns and fishes, butternuts and butterflies. She gave the sea-anemone a sucker foot because he can get along best by clinging to a rock, and she gave the vine sucker feet to climb rocks and trees with. When the sucker foot idea once got into the two families of living things, Mother Nature seemed to say:

"Now all of you children who can use it, may have this little sucker foot."

A Group Of Sea Anemones

The oyster and the clam both have a sucker foot. The oyster uses his to fasten himself to something, as the anemone does, and stays there. But the clam uses his foot for travelling. So, the oyster, lying in one position, gets a shell that looks lop-side, but the clam's shell has both valves alike. People who live by themselves, in one place, get one-sided, too. Instead of saying "don't be a clam" we ought to say, "don't be an oyster." The clam is well-balanced. A man is well-balanced who can see both sides of a question.

My! My! Here we have wandered away from the sea-anemone looking at vines, clams and oysters, seeds and travelling minds, and almost have forgotten our little sea-anemone! But here he is sticking patiently to his rock. Perhaps he has other things to tell us.

"Yes, indeed," he says. "When you were speaking of sucker-feet you didn't mention the fact that I had them long before there were sucker mouths. And how would human and some other animal babies get along without those, I'd like to know. You smack your lips over something good, don't you? And you pucker it to kiss with, too. I taught you how. I pucker my sucker foot to cling with."

"And I taught birds to lay eggs. Well, I'm ready to admit that the sponge taught me."

Anemones, like the sponges, make eggs, or seed babies. These eggs hatch into odd little animals that, for awhile, swim about in the water. They finally settle down on a rock, and grow into these beautiful flower-like animals that are found in the gardens under the great waters of the world. You can see that the anemone, which is so much higher a type than the sponge, at the same time repeats the habits of the sponge in first being a free, swimming animal, and then settling down in one spot. The anemone, however, can move about a little while, but the sponge cannot. After it once settles down the sponge must stay there for life. The anemone can move only a few inches a day; so I suppose it says, "Oh what's the use," and generally it stays in one place.

But, low down as it is in the scale of life, like the jelly fish, the anemone has learned how to move. So, it begins to foretell the wonderful animals that are coming, that can swim in the water, fly in the air, and finally run about on the land. And that's foretelling little boys and girls, you know.

My! But wasn't it a tre-mend-ous thing for a little sea-anemone to let go of the rock and move, if ever so little a way? See Sea-Anemone, page 1712.