BIOTIC Species Information for Metridium senile
Researched byDr Keith Hiscock & Emily Wilson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
General Biology
Growth formRadial
Feeding methodPassive suspension feeder
Mobility/MovementTemporary attachment
Environmental positionEpilithic
Typical food typesZooplankton but also larger prey. (See additional information.) HabitErect
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeMedium-large(21-50cm)
HeightUp to 30 cm Growth Rate9 cm/month
Adult dispersal potential<10m DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationGrowth rate
  • Bucklin (1987a) observed that Metridium senile grew rapidly in laboratory culture when fed daily reaching a mean pedal diameter of 45 cm after 5 months.
  • Anthony (1997) noted that small anemones had the highest feeding efficiency at moderate to high flow regimes (which might help to account for the prevalence of small individuals at wave-exposed locations).
  • Robbins & Schick (1980) found that current strength was the principal cause of expansion in Metridium senile rather than food availability. The greatest percentage of the anemones were expanded when the tide was running than at slack water.
  • Examination of waste pellets of Metridium senile on wharf pilings in Monterey Bay, California (Purcell, 1976) revealed a diet of copepods, polychaete larvae, bivalve and gastropod veligers, copepod naupliii, and barnacle nauplii and cyprids.
  • Sebens (1984) demonstrated that barnacle cyprids, ascidian larvae and gammarid amphipods were the preferred food of Metridium senile over invertebrate eggs, foramaniferans, calanoid and harpacticoid copepods and ostracods.
Predation on Metridium senile
  • Metridium senile is subject to predation from both small and large consumers. The life stages of the sea spider Pycnogonum littorale found feeding on the anemone were reported by Wilhelm et al. (1997). The sea slug Aeolidia papillosa also feeds on Metridium senile (see, for instance, Reidy, 1996; Sebens, 1985). Sebens (1985) reported heavy mortality every winter in the Gulf of Maine, USA from Aeolidia papillosa. However, infestations may be sporadic. Gorzula & Cameron (1976) reported a population boom of Aeolidia papillosa at Millport, Firth of Clyde during February 1974 and that it was the third recorded that century. Effects on the Metridium senile population were considerable although the slugs vanished after four weeks. Epitonid snails (wentletraps) feed on anemones and Perron (1978) observed that Metridium senile was the preferred prey of Epitonium greenlandicum in the Bay of Fundy. Whether north-east Atlantic wentletraps feed on Metridium senile is uncertain although Graham (1988) notes that Epitonium clathrus feeds on Anemonia sulcata. Larger species that eat whole anemones include the black bream Spondyliosoma cantharus (Mattacola, 1976) and, in Newfoundland, the winter flounder Pseudopleuronectes americanus (Keats, 1990).
Biology References Anthony, 1997, Reidy, 1996, Wilhelm et al., 1997, Keats, 1990, Bucklin, 1987a, Mattacola, 1976, Gorzula & Cameron, 1976, Perron, 1978, Graham, 1988,
About MarLIN | Contact, Enquiries & Feedback | Terms & Conditions | Funding | Glossary | Accessibility | Privacy | Sponsorship

Creative Commons License BIOTIC (Biological Traits Information Catalogue) by MarLIN (Marine Life Information Network) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available at Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own terms and conditions and they may or may not be available for reuse. Based on a work at