Beadlet anemone

Scientific name: Actinia equina
Our first introduction to beadlet anemones is normally the dark red jelly blobs seen whilst rockpooling - but once the tide comes in, the true beauty of these fiercely territorial predators is revealed.

Species information

Statistics

Diameter: 5cm

Conservation status

Common

When to see

January to December

About

Beadlet anemones live attached to rocks all around the coast of the UK. They can be found in rock pools and on rocky overhangs around the low tide mark. The beadlet anemone has a squat body with thick short tentacles which are retracted when disturbed or when exposed by the falling tide. Most beadlet anemones are a dark red colour, but they can also be green or orange. The base of the body acts like a sucker, holding them onto the rock, though they can move (albeit very slowly!) if they need to. They are predators and use their stinging tentacles to catch passing prey, such as shrimps, crabs or even small fish.

How to identify

A stocky anemone, up to 5cm in diameter, with short thick tentacles. Normally dark red in colour though sometimes green or orange. Retracts its tentacles when disturbed or when the tide goes out - leaving what resembles a blob of jelly!

Distribution

On rocky shores around all our coasts.

Did you know?

Beadlet anemones are highly territorial. They have a ring of beautiful bright blue beads beneath their tentacles called acrorhagithat are packed full of stinging cells. They use these beads to fight off other anemones and defend their preferred patch.

How people can help

When rockpooling, be careful to leave everything as you found it - replace any rocks you turn over, put back any crabs or fish and ensure not to scrape anything off its rocky home. If you want to learn more about our rockpool life, Wildlife Trusts around the UK run rockpool safaris and offer Shoresearch training - teaching you to survey your local rocky shore. The data collected is then used to protect our coasts and seas through better management or through the designation of Marine Protected Areas. The Wildlife Trusts are working with sea users, scientists, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust or checking out our Action Pages.