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

A sea anemone (Halcampoides purpureus)

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



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 -

Further information sources

Search on:



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

    2. OBIS (Ocean Biogeographic Information System),  2019. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2019-05-25


    This review can be cited as:

    Wilson, E. 1999. Halcampoides purpureus 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 25-05-2019]. Available from:

    Last Updated: 07/09/1999