Anthopleura elegantissima, Aggregating Anemone | ©Marlin Harms (North Point, Morro Strand State Beach, Morro Bay, California, US)

This colonial anemone with tentacles greenish to pinkish, can be found on rocky, tide swept shores along the Pacific coast of North America.

An interesting fact of these anemones, recently studied, is that High-intertidal individuals are exposed aerially up to 18 h each day, unlike low-intertidal individuals which may be continuously immersed over many days [read more].

Animalia - Cnidaria - Anthozoa - Hexacorallia - Actiniaria - Actiniidae - Anthopleura - A. elegantissima

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“Giant Green Anemone” (Anthopleura xanthogrammica)

Also known as the Green Surf Anemone, Green Anemone, Solitary Anemone, Rough Anemone, and the Giant Tidepool Anemone, Anthopleura xanthogrammica is a species of Actiniid sea anemone that inhabits low to mid intertidal zones in the Pacific Ocean, ranging from Alaska to Southern California and rarely down to Panama. Like other sea anemones A. xanthogrammica sports several nemoatocyst lined tentacles which are used to paralyze and capture prey that wanders too close. Phoyosynthetic algae of the genus Zoochlorella and dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium live in the tissue and gut of A. xanthogrammica, in this symbiotic relationship they will provide nutrients to the anemone via photosynthesis (partly giving the anemone its green coloration) and in turn they get a safe place to reside. 


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Image: Stan Shebs

The Deeplet sea anemone

Bolocera tuediae (Anthozoa - Actiniaria - Actiniidae) is a sea anemone characterized by its pink or red colored body, and because its tentacles are long, stout and graceful in full expansion. 

B. tuediae is one of the largest North Sea anemones. It can grow up to 300 millimetres across the tentacles. It has been recorded from all coasts of Britain, but is more rare in the south. Recent records from divers are in Scottish sea lochs. It is generally distributed throughout the North Atlantic, north to the Arctic Circle and east to North America [1].

While symbiotic associations between sea anemones and crustaceans appear to be common in tropical waters, few such associations are known from temperate waters, except for the symbiosis between hermit crabs and sea anemones. However, observations with ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) in the Koster fiord area have suggested that shrimps of certain species (Spirontocaris liljeborgii, Lebbeus polaris, Pandalus borealis, P. propinquus, P. montagui) associate with the sea anemone Bolocera tuediae and the cerianthid Pachycerianthus multiplicatus by aggregating beneath their tentacles [2].

Photo: ©Jim Anderson

Starburst Anemone - Anthopleura sola

Anthopleura sola (Actiniaria - Actiniidae) is a solitary anemone up to 25 cm wide, with pale, variously colored tentacles with pink, lavender, or blue tips, arranged in five rings around the oral disk. 

The Starburst Anemone commonly lives on exposed rocky surfaces and in tidepools and crevices, in the middle intertidal zone of semiprotected rocky coastlines, and can be found in the Pacific Ocean, along the west coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Douglass Moody | Locality: Royal Palms State Beach, San Pedro, California, US (2011)

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Epiactis thompsoni

This striking anemone known by the scientific name of Epiactis thompsoni (Actiniaria - Actiniidae), lives in shallow waters of southern Australia and New Zealand.

Although the color pattern varies, they usually are red and pink. The column is smooth with vertical stripes of cream and red, and have about 40-60 short tentacles.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Saspotato | Locality: Portsea Pier, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Beadlet anemone  (Tomate de mar)

Actinia equina (Actiniaria - Actiniidae), the Beadlet anemone, is a considerably versatile intertidal sea anemone, with a wide array of color variation, from green to red. The most common hue is rust-red.

In the beadlet anemone, the tentacles (up to 192) are arranged radially in six circles around the mouth (the opening to the gastrovascular cavity). Bright blue spots (shown in the photo), called acrorhagi, are below the tentacles on the outer margin of the column and look like warts.

This sea anemone is found primarily in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterannean Sea, but populations also exist stretching down along Africa’s Atlantic coast.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Jeroen Zetz

Locality: Scherpenisse, Zeeland, Netherlands

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Aggregating Anemone - Anthopleura elegantissima

Anthopleura elegantissima is a sea anemone which commonly lives on exposed rocky surfaces and in tidepools and crevices. It is found in the middle intertidal zone of semiprotected rocky coastlines of both the outer coast and bays, along the west coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California.

As its common name suggests, this species is found in clonal groups of aggregating individuals. Individuals range from 2-5 cm across the oral disc, but are usually less then 3.5 cm across. The disc can be twice that size when extended. Solitary animals are larger, averaging 6.5 cm across the oral disc; once considered a solitary form of the same species, these larger, non-cloning individulas have recently been described as a sibling species, Anthopleura sola

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Richard Droker (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) | Locality: Washington coast, US (2011)

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Moonglow Anemone - Anthopleura artemisia

Also referred to as Buried Green Anemone, and Burrowing Anemone, Anthopleura artemisia (Actiniaria - Actiniidae) is a species often found buried in a mixed sandy, shelled, and cobbled ocean floor, with only its tentacles and oral disc exposed.

This anemone has long, slim tentacles. It varies in color from grayish green to brown or black, though sometimes it has pink or orange tentacles like the pictured specimen. These anemones are solitary, and can reach 10 cm in diameter with a buried column to 25 cm long. They can be found on shorelines along the west coast of North America, from Alaska to Baja California.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Marlin Harms | Locality: Montana de Oro State Park, San Luis Obispo Co., California, US (2010)

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Spinnaker Anemone (Korsaranthus natalensis)

Also known as the candy-striped anemone, the spinnaker anemone is a species of Actiniid anemone which is endemic to the South African coast, where it occurs from False Bay to Durban. Spinnaker anemones are noted for being partly motile, as they use their parachute like disc to “sail” to different locations to prey on octocorals. 


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Image(s): Seascapeza


Anemone - Bolocera tuediae | ©Tony J. Gilbert

Bolocera tuediae is large sea anemone that can grow up to 300mm across tentacles. This large and distinctive anemone is capable of shedding its tentacles, pinching them off by muscular action, hence the groove at their bases. The reason for this is unknown.

Generally distributed throughout the north Atlantic, north to the Arctic Circle and east to north America, this species is recorded from all coasts of Britain but rare in south. 

The specimen shown is 25 cm in diameter. It was photographed in St.Abbs, Eyemouth, Scotland, UK. 

Cnidaria - Anthozoa - Actiniaria - Actiniidae - Bolocera - B. tuediae

More information.

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Condylactis gigantea

A stunning close up of the so called Giant Caribbean anemone, Condy anemone, and Pink-tipped anemone, with a shrimp on it.

This beautiful anemones are scientifically named Condylactis gigantea (Actiniidae), and are commonly found in the Caribbean, most specifically the West Indies, and the western Atlantic, ranging from southern Florida through the Florida keys. They can be seen growing in lagoons or on inner reefs as either individuals or loose groups, but never as colonies.

The Condy anemone is approximately 15 cm high and 30 cm wide, making the disk diameter approximately 40 cm. They can exibit a variety of colors: white, light blue, pink, orange, pale red, or light brown. The mouth is surrounded by 100 or more tentacles, each long and tapered with pink-, scarlet-, blue- or green-ringed tips.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Courtney Platt

Locality: Grand Cayman

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Crimson Anemone  (Snakelock anemone, Chevron-tentacle anemone, Fernald brooding anemone)

Macrophotography of Cribrinopsis fernaldi (Actiniaria - Actiniidae), a sea anemone from the North Pacific Ocean. commonly referred to as Crimson Anemone, although the overall color may be white, yellow, or pink.

These sea anemones up to 20 cm tall, have narrow zigzag lines, often red, across the tentacles. Tentacles are long and may droop down. It also has red lines radiating outward on the oral disk.

This anemone broods its young internally.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Conor McCracken

Locality: British Columbia, Canada

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Dahlia Anemone | ©Ewan Anderson 

Urticina felina (Actiniaria - Actiniidae) photographed in the surging waters off of St. Abb’s Head at a site appropriately named, ‘Anemone Alley’, Scotland.

Urticina felina is commonly known as Northern red anemone or Dahlia anemone. It is a large anemone (base up to 15 cm diameter) with up to 160 short (up to 2 cm), stout tentacles arranged in multiples of ten. The coloration is very variable, ranging through white, yellow, orange, red, blue, grey, purple and brown being either plain or more commonly in some combination. Perhaps most commonly with a red column blotched with green/grey and a prominent pattern of red lines amongst the tentacle bases. 


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Strawberry Anemone (Actinia fragacea)

…a species of Actiniid sea anemone which is found in the northeastern and eastern Atlantic Ocean. Its range extends from Norway, Scotland and Ireland to the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa, including the Azores, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. Strawberry anemones typically inhabit the intertidal and sublittoral zone at depths less than 10 meters (33 ft). They are generally found attached to rocks and boulders. 


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Image: Nilfanion