Cnidarians (pronounced Cnidarians) are flower like in appearance with tentacles to trap food, they have stinging cells and come in a wide variety of often bright colors. species include Anemones, Corals and Jellyfish.
ANEMONES (Order: Actinaria)
Anemones are solitary anthozoans with no calcareous, hard skeleton. They are sedentary and can either burrow or adhere to rocks with a sucker like disc. They have simple, un-branched tentacles which are sometimes poisonous. Many other species exist here, and can be found both in sandy areas as well as in their normally rocky habitat.
JEWEL ANEMONE (Corynactis viridis)
The most common anemone in Turkish waters is the aptly named Jewel anemone, usually pink in color it has characteristic knobs at the end of stubby tentacles. Sometimes found in dark crevices or under rocks during the day they are abundant at night when they can be seen in large colonies. At night they open fully exposing a delightful array of sticky tentacles and can be observed grabbing any small sea creature unfortunate enough to come within grabbing distance. Often the myriad small sea creatures attracted by your dive torch provide a bountiful feast for any anemones in the vicinity.
CORAL (Order: Madreporaria)
Corals are anthozoans, often colonial, with hard calcareous skeletons into which the polyps can usually fully retract if disturbed. Examples of coral building can be found in small stems, however, plenitude and growth are insufficient to create the quantity of skeletal deposits required to create coral reefs.
Relatively rare in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas though some species of coral can be found around the south western coast of Turkey, usually in infrequently dived areas and places protected by overhanging rocks or in crevices. Some very colorful soft corals can be observed in cave entrances and caverns. Hard and soft corals are rare here and care should be taken not to cause damage. No coral, hard or soft, should be touched or taken.
JELLYFISH (Class: Scypozoa)
Fairly rare in this part of Turkey there are some species to which can be seen at various times of the year.
COMMON JELLYFISH (Aurelia aurita)
This is the jellyfish most likely to be encountered in Turkish waters, it is transparent with a blue white tint, saucer shaped and can be up to 25cms in diameter. It has frilly mouth arms which are longer than the numerous short tentacles. It is recognizable by four distinctive purple colored, horseshoe shaped, reproductive organs visible when viewed from above.
SMALLER JELLYFISH (Pelagia noctiluca)
Also native to the Mediterranean but extremely rare in these waters is the Smaller Jellyfish, reaching a maximum diameter of 10cms it has four arms around its mouth and eight slender trailing tentacles longer than the mouth arms. It is transparent with a yellow red tint. If disturbed at night it becomes luminescent. Stings can be severe and painful.