Mesacmaea mitchellii (Gosse, 1853)

Mesacmaea mitchellii

Description: The column of this burrowing sea anemone is typically pear-shaped, with a rounded base, divided into scapus and scapulus. The scapus often has adherent sand grains. The tentacles are up to 36, seven in the inner row, these characteristically being held upwards, over the mouth. Size up to 50mm diameter, 70mm across tentacles. The scapus is buff, orange, or red, scapulus greyish. Tentacles and disc patterned in cream, reddish and various shades of brown.

Habitat: Burrows in sand or gravel, from 10m or deeper.

Distribution: Locally frequent on south and west coasts of England and Wales, in Ireland only known from Kilkieran Bay in Connemara and one old record from the west coast, north to western Scotland.

Similar Species: A very distinctive species. The rounded base is able to attach firmly to solid substrates, when it becomes a flat disc. Its natural habit, however is to burrow. Unlikely to be confused with any other species apart from Peachia cylindrica, which has only twelve tentacles.

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). Mesacmaea mitchellii (Gosse, 1853). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Accessed on 2024-05-30

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