Purple anemone (Halcampoides purpureus)

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



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

- none -



    1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

    2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-05-21


    This review can be cited as:

    Wilson, E. 1999. Halcampoides purpureus Purple 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 21-05-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2274

    Last Updated: 07/09/1999