Actinia equina (Linnaeus, 1758)

Beadlet anemone

Actinia equina

Description: This sea anemone has a smooth column divided into a scapus and a narrow capitulum, with a well-marked parapet and fosse. Blue (rarely white or pink) rounded warts are present in the fosse. The tentacles are moderate in length, never banded. The colour is variable: most shades of red, brown, orange or green, usually plain all over but sometimes with blue or yellowish spots or streaks on the column, mostly with a blue line around the edge of the base. Size up to 50mm across the base. Reproduces by viviparity, producing fully formed young anemones.

Habitat: Found on any firm substrate, rocks, stones, breakwaters, etc. From high on the shore to the shallow sublittoral, about 20m depth, but typically a shore species.

Distribution: Very common on all coasts of Britain. Throughout western Europe, south to the Mediterranean and probably to the coast of west Africa.

Similar Species: Genetic investigation suggests that some of the different colour morphs of Actinia equina may be distinct species.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map from NBN: Grid map (fast) : Interactive map (slower, requires login to view records) : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2015). Actinia equina (Linnaeus, 1758). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Accessed on 2015-11-27

[Show species list]