Sea Anemone - Sagartia elegans Var. venusta 

Sagartia elegans (Actiniaria - Sagartiidae) is a species of sea anemones found on shore in pools, under stones, caves and beneath overhangs, from the mid-tide level and below, and is also common in the sublittoral down to approximately 50 m.

There are 5 different varieties of the species recognized on the basis of the colouration of the disc and tentacles. In Sagartia elegans Var. venusta the disc is a plain orange and the tentacles are white.

The species is native to the British Isles and throughout western Europe, including the Mediterranean, however it was found at Hawthorne Cove Marina in Salem, Massachusetts, United States, in 2000, when it was particularly abundant and therefore is suspected to have been introduced some years prior. The introduced population of S. elegans was seasonally abundant, disappearing during the winter. Its seasonal abundance as well as its population failure during the winter, suggest that winter is particularly stressful for S. elegans.

References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]

Photo credit: ©Tony J. Gilbert | Locality: Isle of Man, Irish Sea (2012)

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Sagartia elegans Var. rosea | ©Tony J Gilbert    (Northern Ireland)

Sagartia elegans is a very variable species of sea anemone. One of its distinguishing features that can be seen in this photograph, is the presence of numerous tentacles, approximately 200 of them spanning about 4 cm, moderate to long.

This species is often found in large aggregations and may live with their bases inside a hole in the substratum into which they retract into when disturbed.

There are five different varieties of the species recognized on the basis of the coloration of the disc and tentacles. This one is the Var. rosea, in which  the disc is variably coloured, plain or patterned, with the tentacles being pink, rose-red or magenta [1].

Sagartia elegans is a common species, often abundant on all coasts of the British Isles and throughout western Europe, including the Mediterranean [2].

Animalia - Cnidaria - Anthozoa - Hexacorallia - Actiniaria - Sagartiidae - SagartiaSagartia elegans (Dalyell, 1848) [1]

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