Aureliania heterocera (Thompson, 1853)

Imperial anemone

Aureliania heterocera

Description: This burrowing anemone has a very wide base; the column is divided into scapus and narrow capitulum, with a parapet and fosse. The tentacles are very short, ending in rounded, variably shaped knobs, up to about 150 in number. Size up to about 70mm across base. The colour is red, yellow or purplish, often blotched with other colours, disc and tentacles sometimes grey, white or brownish. Able to rapidly retract disc and tentacles.

Habitat: Found buried in sand, gravel or maerl, with the broad base acting as an anchor. Occasional on lower shore or offshore to several hundred metres depth. An uncommon species.

Distribution: Recorded from scattered localities around the south and west coasts of the British Isles, west Europe and the Mediterranean.

Similar Species: No other species in the area have such distinctive tentacles.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map from NBN: Interactive map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

WoRMS: Species record : World Register of Marine Species.

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2016). Aureliania heterocera (Thompson, 1853). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Accessed on 2020-08-14

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