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

A sea anemone (Edwardsia timida)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



A burrowing anemone, similar to Edwardsia claparedii but with a column generally more slender, up to 70mm long and 5mm in diameter. The tentacles are long and translucent orange-pink in colour, occasionally buff. It has 20-28 tentacles usually but up to 36 have been recorded. The column is streaked or spotted with white.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

North-east Ireland, the Isle of Man and north-west Scotland. Rarely recently recorded.

Global distribution



Burrows in sand or gravel from lower shore to shallow sublittoral.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Column slender, lacks rows of tubercles.
  • Physa with cinclides.
  • Tentacles 16-36, arranged in three cycles, always with four in the primary cycle, these are stouter and sometimes shorter than the other tentacles.

Additional information

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Further information sources

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  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:  Accessed 01 April 2017


This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2007. Edwardsia timida 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. [cited 19-09-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 03/09/2007