A sea anemone (Arachnanthus sarsi)

NBN Interactive03-09-2007

Map accurate at time of writing. Visit NBN or OBIS to view current distribution

Researched byEmily Wilson Refereed byAdmin
AuthorityCarlgren, 1912
Other common names- Synonyms-



A large sea anemone, up to 20 cm high when fully expanded, that lives in a tube in the seabed. The tentacles are white-grey or pinkish in colour, often with diffuse brown bands. They are arranged in two cycles of 30 long outer and 30 shorter inner tentacles. The inner tentacles point inwards and upwards to form a cone and are dark brown on the inner surface. It is similar to Cerianthus lloydii but Arachnanthus sarsi is much larger and has fewer tentacles. The cone of inner tentacles is distinctive and readily distinguishes this species from Cerianthus lloydii. It may be partly nocturnal.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded only on the north coast of Ireland, the west of Scotland and the Hebrides.

Global distribution

This anemone was originally described from Norway, but no other distribution information was found.


Lives in a parchment-like tube in mud, sand or shelly mud sediment at 10-36 m

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Column long and slender, capable of great contraction, obvious aboral pore.
  • Marginal tentacles rather stout forming single series at periphery of disc, from 30-34.
  • Labial tentacles slightly longer than radius of disc when expanded, arranged in single series and point inward and upward to form cone.

Additional information

May be conspecific with Arachnactis albida.

Listed by

Further information sources

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  1. Bourne, G. C., 1919. Observations on Arachnactis albida M. Sars. Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science N.S. 64 27–65.

  2. Eleftheriou, A. & Basford, D.J., 1983. The general behaviour and feeding of Cerianthus lloydii Gosse (Anthozoa, Coelenterata). Cahiers de Biologie Marine, 24, 147-158.

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. (ed.), 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  4. Hughes, D.J., 1998a. Sea pens & burrowing megafauna (volume III). An overview of dynamics and sensitivity characteristics for conservation management of marine SACs. Natura 2000 report prepared for Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) for the UK Marine SACs Project., Scottish Association for Marine Science. (UK Marine SACs Project). Available from:  http://www.ukmarinesac.org.uk/publications.htm

  5. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid,

  6. Manuel, R.L., 1981. British Anthozoa. London: Academic Press.[Synopses of the British Fauna, no. 18.]

  7. NBN (National Biodiversity Network), 2002. National Biodiversity Network gateway. http://www.searchnbn.net, 2008-10-31

  8. Picton, B. E. & Manuel, R.L., 1985. Arachnanthus sarsi Carlgren, 1912: a redescription of a cerianthid anemone new to the British Isles. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 83, 343-349.

  9. Picton, B.E. & Morrow C.C., 2005. Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=D10920, 2008-01-08

  10. Wood. C., 2005. Seasearch guide to sea anemones and corals of Britain and Ireland. Ross-on-Wye: Marine Conservation Society.


This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2007. Arachnanthus sarsi A sea anemone. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1274

Last Updated: 03/09/2007