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

Jewel anemone (Corynactis viridis)

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



This is a short and squat anemone with a smooth column. The anemone has up to 100 tentacles, each ending in a small knob. Corynactis viridis is brilliantly coloured and can be green, pink, red, orange or white in various combinations. Usually the disc, tentacles and tentacle tips are contrasting colours.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Corynactis viridis reaches its northern limit in Shetland. It is found around the south and west coasts of Britain and all around Ireland.

Global distribution

Recorded around the British Isles, south-west Europe and into the Mediterranean.


Corynactis viridis occurs from the lower shore and into the subtidal to about 50 m (sometimes to 80 m) on rocks, in caves and beneath overhangs where it is shaded from light. The anemone is often found in dense aggregations especially on vertical rock faces.

Depth range

Up to 80m

Identifying features

  • Base up to 10 mm in diameter and up to 15 mm in height.
  • Smooth column.
  • Up to 100 knobbed tentacles.
  • Variety of colours including green, pink, red, orange and white.
  • Often found in dense aggregations on vertical rock faces

Additional information


Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  2. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

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

  4. 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.]

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

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

  7. 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.


This review can be cited as:

Ager, O.E.D. 2007. Corynactis viridis Jewel 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 24-09-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 19/02/2007