Beadlet anemone

Scientific name: Actinia equina
Have you ever seen those dark red jelly blobs whilst rockpooling? These incredible creatures arebeadlet anemones! They live attached to rocks all around the coast of the UK, the base of their body acting as a sucker to keep them in one place until the tide goes out.

Species information

Statistics

Diameter: 5cm

Conservation status

Common

When to see

January to December

About

Most commonly spotted as dark red blobs in rockpools, beadlet anemones are attached to rocks all around the coast of the UK, the base of their body acting as a sucker to keep them secure in place. The magic of the beadlet anemone is only revealed once the tide comes in; as it is only then that their thick short tentacles become visible. They use these tentacles to sting and catch passing prey like crabs, shrimp and small fish. These are then retracted at low tide or when disturbed.

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.