Starlet sea anemone
The starlet sea anemone lives in brackish
lagoons at or above high water, usually in mud, muddy sand and
muddy shingle but it is also found on tasselweed and seagrass.
This is a tiny anemone. The column of
its body (which is usually buried in the seabed) is rarely more
than 15 mm in length, and the disc from which its tentacles emerge
is a miniscule 1.5mm across. Its sticky tentacles are very long in
proportion to its body, and are colourless and translucent with
The main threat to this rare anemone is loss
and damage to lagoons and other sheltered brackish water habitats,
caused by pollution, drainage and other activities. Coastal
defence works and associated infilling can have a major impact.
Some populations of the starlet sea anemone have already become
extinct in some places, due to loss of habitat and pollution.
In the UK, the starlet sea anemone occurs in only a few coastal
lagoons in the Isle of Wight, Sussex, Hampshire, and in Dorset and
along the East Anglian coast. It may also occur in some brackish
ponds and ditches. It is not known elsewhere in Europe.
- This is a
UK BAP Priority Species (BAP species are now Species of Principal Importance/Priority
- Species of principal importance for the purpose of conservation
of biodiversity under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities
- Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
- Protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act
- The coastal lagoons in which the starlet anemones can be found
are a UKBAP priority habitat and are listed in Annex I of the
Biodiversity Action Reporting System
of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland
Life Information Network
Marine Species Identification Portal