Facts about this animal
The Beadlet Anemone will grow to 7 cm high. It consists of a cylindrical foot with a widened base of 5-6 cm in diameter and a crown of 192 up to 2 cm long, pointed and smooth, hollow tentacles arranged in six circles around its oral opening. Below the tentacles there is a ring of 24 blue beads, called acrorhagi, which are used to repel conspecifics by means of nettle capsules. Its base is formed like a sucker with which it fixes itself to the ground. This is aided by a glutinous secretion. The texture is soft and there are no skeletal elements. The colour is red, orange, brown or green depending on light intensity and season.
It is a solitary species which does not form colonies. Anyhow, it is gregarious with related individuals and clones. They can move around by sliding the base along the substratum, and foreign specimens are attacked - sometimes mortally - by means of the beads. At low tide, the Beadlet Anemone retracts its tentacles, forms a ball, and produces mucus to protect itself from desiccation. Thus, it looks like a glossy, gelatinous tomato. It can withstand comparably high temperatures. Additionally, the animal remains at sheltered places like the underside of stones or crevices. The Beadlet Anemone feeds by night when it captures, by means of its nettling tentacles, plankton like small fish and crustaceans or larger animals like arthropods and mollusks. The prey is paralyzed by the venom the nettle cells, called cnidocytes, produce and passed to the mouth. Later, undigestible components are expelled through the oral opening.
Reproduction is sexual as well as asexual with separate sexes or hermaphrodites. Sperm cells are released into the water column and will enter the female’s digestive cavity where they fertilize the egg cells. Larval development takes place in the digestive cavity of the parent. Young anemones with 12 tentacles are expelled through the mouth and will settle nearby. Additionally, Beadlet Anemones can bud to produce asexually new separate individuals.
A known predator is the Grey Sea Slug, Aeolidia papillosa, which is not affected by the nettle cells.
Did you know?
that the Beadlet Anemone contains a substance to fight bacterial infections other than lysozyme which is present in most other animals? This substance might be used as an alternative for medical purposes.
that a Beadlet Anemone, if newly brought from the wild to an aquarium, will maintain its tide-depending rhythm of daily activity for some days?
|Name (Scientific)||Actinia equina|
|Name (English)||Beadlet Anemone|
|Name (French)||Actinie rouge, Tomate de mer, Actinie chevaline|
|Name (German)||Pferdeaktinie, Purpurrose, Erdbeerrose|
|Name (Spanish)||Tomate marino|
|Local names||Dutch: Paarde-anemoon
French (add.): Actinie commune, Cubasseau
Italian: Attinia rossa, Pomodoro di mare, Fragole di mare, Cazzo rosso
|CITES Status||Not listed|
|CMS Status||Not listed|
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|Range||Northeast Atlantic Ocean, including the British Isles, from the arctic Norway to Northwest Africa (the form of the Mediterranean Sea, formerly included in Actinia equina, is now treated as a separate species, Actinia schmidti, see photographs).|
|Habitat||On rocky bottoms of the intertidal zone in both, exposed or sheltered situations, also in rock pools. It may also be found in regions of variable salinity such as estuaries. Rarely down to 20 m deep.|
|Wild population||Common where it occurs.|
|Zoo population||612 reported to ISIS (2008)|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
The Beadlet Anemone can be transported for 10 days if packed into moist seaweed.
Find this animal on ZooLex
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Why do zoos keep this animal
The highly decorative Beadlet Anemone is suitable for long-term exhibit because it can live up to 66 years in captivity. This species living at the intertidal zone may be familiar to many visitors from their holidays to rocky seashores.