Dahlia Anemone

Dahlia Anemone ©Linda Pitkin/2020VISION

Dahlia Anemone

Scientific name: Urticina felina
With their beautiful striped tentacles, it's easy to see where Dahlia Anemones got their floral name from. Look out for them next time you're rockpooling!

Species information

Statistics

Diameter: up to 15cm

Conservation status

Common

When to see

January to December

About

A large anemone found on rocky shores all around the UK and on the seabed down to depths of 100m. They have a stout column ("body") and up to 160 short thick tentacles. Named after Dahlia flowers, they come in a wide range of beautiful colours including pinks, purples, yellows and oranges; though they are most commonly a reddish brown. The tentacles are often striped, though they can also be plain. Fragments of sand, shell and gravel stick to grey warts on the body, helping to camouflage them. They feed on small fish and crustaceans, using their stinging tentacles to immobilise passing prey.

How to identify

Distinguished from other anemones by the banded tentacles and the warty 'body' often accessorised with fragments of gravel or shell. Dahlia Anemones are very variable in colour, including pinks, purples, yellows, oranges and whites but most commonly a reddish-brown. Their short tentacles are normally banded (striped) but can be plain. They are reasonably large, with those living offshore the largest of all.

Distribution

On rocky shores around all our coasts and offshore to 100m deep.

Did you know?

Dahlia Anemones can form dense carpets on the seabed - creating a bit of an underwater garden. Beautiful… but deadly!

How people can help

When rockpooling, be careful to leave everything as you found it - replace any rocks you turn over, put back any crabs or fish and ensure not to scrape anything off its rocky home. If you want to learn more about our rockpool life, Wildlife Trusts around the UK run rockpool safaris and offer Shoresearch training - teaching you to survey your local rocky shore. The data collected is then used to protect our coasts and seas through better management or through the designation of Marine Protected Areas. The Wildlife Trusts are working with sea users, scientists, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust or checking out our Action Pages.