Yellow feathers (Gymnangium montagui)

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



A colonial hydroid consisting of one or many, tall, erect, feather-shaped plumes with a tapering outline above, and a distinct main stem. The plumes are up to 15 cm in length. The hydrotheca surrounding the polyps are cup shaped (230-280 µm in length). Defensive structures, termed nematotheca, lying along the mid-line of the branches are slightly upwardly curved and longer than in any other hydroid in this family (ca. 500 µm) and, hence, characteristic of this species.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found on the south and western coasts of Britain and western coasts of Ireland, recorded as far north as the Isle of Arran.

Global distribution



Found on bedrock, shells and algae in coastal waters, sometimes in patches up to 1 m across.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Tall, erect feather-shaped plumes.
  • Plumes up to 15 cm in length.
  • Occur singly or in groups.
  • Long length of defensive structures on mid-line of branches characteristic of this species.
  • Found on bedrock, shells and algae in coastal waters.

Additional information

Thought to produce reproductive bodies in the feathers in early winter.

Listed by

- none -


  1. Cornelius, P.F.S., 1995b. North-west European thecate hydroids and their medusae. Part 2. Sertulariidae to Campanulariidae. Shrewsbury: Field Studies Council. [Synopses of the British Fauna no. 50]

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

  3. 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.]

  4. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line]

  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.


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

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-06-15


This review can be cited as:

Pizzolla, P.F 2008. Gymnangium montagui Yellow feathers. 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 15-06-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 17/04/2008