Urticina felina (Linnaeus, 1761)

Dahlia anemone

Urticina felina

Description: Tentacles short and stout, arranged in multiples of 10, those of the first (inner) cycle usually distinguished by the pattern on the disc, around their bases. Column divided into stout scapus and a narrow capitulum, with a prominent parapet and fosse. Scapus with numerous hollow warts which usually have gravel or other debris stuck to them. Colours very variable, plain or variegated, usually with a pattern on the disc. Size up to 200mm across tentacles, diameter of base to 120mm.

Habitat: On rocks, shells, etc. Typically a species of the lower shore and the shallow sublittoral but also from deeper water. Often forms large beds in the Laminaria zone on exposed, open coasts.

Distribution: Common on all coasts of Britain and northwest Europe (absent in the Mediterranean), possibly circumpolar but may have been confused with other species.

Similar Species: This species may occur in almost any colour, or combination of colours, eg. red and green column, blue-grey disc and tentacles patterned with red, etc. When closed the gravel coating of this anemone may be all that can be seen. Sublittoral specimens may not have gravel stuck to their columns. Other anemones which coat themselves with gravel are: Anthopleura thallia, which is small, with relatively long tentacles which are arranged irregularly, colour very different from Urticina felina; Cereus pedunculatus and Sagartia troglodytes which have acontia and slender tentacles arranged in multiples of 6.

Key Identification Features:

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

WoRMS: Species record : World Register of Marine Species.

iNaturalist: Species account : iNaturalist World Species Observations database

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2016). Urticina felina (Linnaeus, 1761). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Accessed on 2024-06-14

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