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

A sea anemone (Halcampoides abyssorum)

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



A burrowing anemone with an elongated column, dirty white or flesh-coloured sometimes suffused with vivid green. The tentacles are very long, even in contraction, tapering to fine points. They are translucent grey-brown in colour often shading to reddish-brown and each one having a more or less extensive white spot near its base.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded at sites on the coast of Lundy, south-west Wales, north-west Scotland and west Ireland.

Global distribution



Burrows in mud, sand or gravel, always offshore, occurring down to at least 1000 m but 10-25 m around Britain and Ireland.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Column elongated, not divided into distinct regions, its aboral end rounded and provided with cinclides.
  • Periderm absent.
  • Disc small, with a slight hypostome.
  • Length of column when not buried 10 cm, becoming much longer when buried; full expanse of tentacles up to 10 cm.

Additional information

The taxonomy of the Halcampoides purpurea complex is still confused (Howson & Picton, 1997).

Listed by

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. 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.]

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

  3. Moore, J., 2002. An atlas of marine Biodiversity Action Plan species and habitats and Species of Conservation Concern in Wales, 2nd edn. Report to the Countryside Council for Wales, CCW Contract Science Report no. 509.


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biogeographic Information System),  2021. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2021-12-03


This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2006. Halcampoides abyssorum A sea anemone. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 03-12-2021]. Available from:

Last Updated: 19/10/2006