MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A sea anemone (Sagartia elegans)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

Sagartia elegans is a very variable species (see additional information), all varieties have a base up to 30 mm and this is wider than the column and closely adherent. The column is moderately tall and flares out towards the disk. The upper part of the column is has numerous white suckers which appear as white spots and cinclides (small pores) just visible as dark spots. Acontia (white defence threads) are freely emitted from cinclides when the anemone disturbed. The tentacles are moderate to long and there are approximately 200 of them spanning about 4 cm. . This species is often found in large aggregations and may live with their bases inside a hole in the substratum into which they retract into when disturbed. The colour of the column is variable; red, orange, brown whitish or greenish.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Common or locally abundant on all coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Global distribution

Recorded from south-west Europe to the Mediterranean and also north to Iceland and Scandinavia.

Habitat

This sea anemones found on shore in pools, under stones, caves and beneath overhangs, from the mid-tide level and below. This species is also common in the sublittoral down to approximately 50 m.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Base up to 30 mm in diameter.
  • Base wider than the column and strongly adherent.
  • Column moderately tall and flares out to disc.
  • Columns varies in colour: red, orange, brown, whitish or pale grey-green.
  • Numerous suckers appear as white spots on column.
  • Cinclides, (small pores) just visible as dark spots on upper part of column.
  • Tentacles moderately long and about 200 spanning 4 cm.

Additional information

There are 5 different varieties of the species recognised on the basis of the colouration of the disc and tentacles.
  • Var. miniata - the colour of the disc is variable, often variegated in - orange, red, brown, cream, grey etc. The disc is always marked with a dark pattern. The tentacles are similar to the disc, always banded and may have longitudinal lines.
  • Var. rosea - the disc is variably coloured, plain or patterned as in miniata with the tentacles being pink, rose-red or magenta.
  • Var. aurantiaca - the disc is greyish, sometimes patterned and tentacles are a dull orange.
  • Var.venusta - the disc is a plain orange and the tentacles are white.
  • Var. nivea - disc and tentacles white.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 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.]

  3. Manuel, R.L., 1988. British Anthozoa. London: Academic Press.[Synopses of the British Fauna, no. 18.]

  4. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: http://www.nbnatlas.org.  Accessed 01 April 2017

  5. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin., http://www.itsligo.ie/biomar/

  6. Stephenson, T.A., 1935. The British Sea Anemones, vol. 2. London: Ray Society.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Peckett, F. 2008. Sagartia elegans 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/1869

Last Updated: 29/04/2008