We screened nonbioluminescent, azooxanthellate cnidaria as potential sources for advanced marker proteins and succeeded in cloning a tetrameric green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the tentacles of Cerianthus membranaceus. The fluorescence of this protein (cmFP512) is characterized by excitation maximum at 503 nm, emission maximum at 512 nm, extinction coefficient of 58,800 M-1 cm-1, quantum yield of 0.66, and fluorescence lifetime of 2.4 ns. The chromophore is formed from the tripeptide Gln-Tyr-Gly. The amino acid sequence of this protein shares 17.8% identical residues with GFP from Aequorea victoria. Weak interactions between the subunits of the tetramer make cmFP512 a promising lead structure for the generation of monomeric variants of fluorescent proteins. Both red fluorescent proteins and nonfluorescent proteins of the GFP family were also purified from tissue homogenates of Adamsia palliata and Calliactis parasitica. The results presented here indicate that a photoprotective function of GFP-like proteins is unlikely in the examined anthozoa species.