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

A sea anemone (Diadumene cincta)

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



Diadumene cincta is a small, slender anemone up to 35 mm in height, usually orange in colour. It has up to 200 tentacles on the oral disc which are also orange in colour but paler than the column. The surface of the column is smooth and is dotted with irregularly spaced pores (called cinclides) that serve to release water from the body cavities when the anemone contracts. When contracted, the body appears distorted and the parapet, a fold of tissue surrounding the tentacle-bearing part of the body (the capitulum), is distinct. When Diadumene cincta extends, the parapet folds out and becomes indistinct. If disturbed, this anemone extrudes stinging cell-bearing tentacles called acontia through the mouth to deter attackers.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

All coasts of Britain often occuring in aggregations. Distribution unknown in Ireland.

Global distribution



Attached to hard substrata, particularly bivalve shells in pools in the intertidal and sublittoral down to depths of 40 m. Often found in variable salinity and may be abundant on marina pontoons.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Elongate orange column, almost vermiform when fully extended.
  • Parapet and fosse (a groove between the parapet and capitulum) indistinct when extended, become distinct upon contraction.
  • Contraction of column asymmetrical, acontia released fairly readily.
  • Cinclides present on column.
  • Up to 200 long slender tentacles on oral disc, irregularly arranged.

Additional information

Diadumene cincta may be mistaken for small plumose anemones Metridium dianthus as these two species are found in the same habitat. Diadumene cincta is much more erect and has fewer tentacles than Metridium senile, which has a dumpy appearance.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. 1990. The marine fauna of the British Isles and 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., 1981. 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

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


This review can be cited as:

Neal, K.J. 2007. Diadumene cincta 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 21-09-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 11/06/2007