Anemone Thila in the Maldives is the biggest single collection of anemones I’ve ever seen. For all I know it may be the best anyone has ever seen as the numbers and density of ‘nems are far in excess of any others I’ve witnessed. Many resorts have an ‘Anemone City’ on their dive site list, and often they’re disappointing. But this site is on a scale I have never before witnessed.
Thila is a local word for a reef that is shallow but does not break the surface, not to be confused with a Giri, which is similar, but almost breaks the surface. This thila was about fifteen meters deep and from the surface you could see the anemones’ skirts reflecting strongly in the blue spectrum – quite a sight. I was also lucky to dive this site during a rainstorm (not uncommon in the Maldives). Cloudy days cause the ‘nems to contract a little to reveal their skirts in all their various hues.
When I reached the reef, the number of anemones was beyond counting, stretching as far as the eye could reach and covering every surface – as you can see.
The dominant species is Heteractis magnifica, but there were others. I would dearly love to understand the relationships between the individuals and to understand how many are clonal descendants.
I was surprised to see fewer clownfish than I had expected. In these images you’ll see Amphiprion clarkii and A. nigripes, but you’ll need to look closely.