BIOTIC Species Information for Nematostella vectensis
Researched byCharlotte Marshall & Angus Jackson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr Simon Davy & Dr Martin Sheader
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandFound on north coast of Norfolk, the east coast of Suffolk, the Blackwater Estuary and Hamford Water in Essex, the Hampshire coast and on the south coast of Dorset.
Global distributionIn North America from Nova Scotia to Georgia on the Atlantic coast, from Florida to Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico and from California to Washington on the Pacific coast. Also found on the South and East coast of England.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range<1 m to 2 m max
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationThe populations of this species in Britain may either be:
1) relicts from a larger earlier distribution,
2) have arrived in Britain from North America by natural mean or
3) have been introduced by human agency.
Dispersal between lagoons may be via floating mats of Chaetomorpha sp. thus extending their dispersal potential. Biological zone is not relevant because this species lives in lagoons, generally not exposed to tidal action.
Posey & Hines (1991) suggested that in the Rhode River, America, the distribution outside lagoons may be limited through predation by shrimps.

Nematostella vectensis is often found using Ruppia sp. or Chaetomorpha sp. as substrata (Williams, 1991).

Although the species is usually found in water less than 1 m deep, a few live down to 2 m water depth (M. Sheader, pers. comm.).

In English populations of Nematostella vectensis, the salinity in the vast majority of sites ranges between 2-42 ppt with the greatest abundance in ponds with seasonally varying salinity between 16-32 ppt. (Sheader et al., 1997).

Distribution in Britain and Ireland
Nematostella vectensis is found on north coast of Norfolk, the east coast of Suffolk, the Blackwater Estuary and Hamford Water in Essex (Carol Reid, English Nature, pers. comm.), the Hampshire coast and on the south coast of Dorset. Nematostella vectensis was first described as a new species from brackish pools on the Isle of Wight.

Substratum preferencesMud
Physiographic preferencesIsolated saline water (Lagoon)
Biological zoneLagoonal
Wave exposureUltra Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowVery Weak (negligible)
SalinityVariable (18-40 psu)
Low (<18 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Manuel, 1988, Stephenson, 1935, Sheader et al., 1997, Hand & Uhlinger, 1992, Hand & Uhlinger, 1994, Posey & Hines, 1991,
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