British Marine Life Study Society

 Sea Anemones






British Marine Life Study Society
   Plumose Anemone
Plumose Anemone (photograph by Paul Parsons)
Common Name(s):
  Plumose Anemone (UK) 
Scientific Name:   Metridium senile 

Usual Size:                                  cm 

                         Photograph by Paul Parsons

Photograph by Andy Horton

White & orange are the usual colours.


Small brown specimens occur. 

This anemone has 'catch tentacles'. 

    Young specimen (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Contains acontia

Similar species:  Diadumene cincta
 Basal laceration. 

    The miniature sea anemone arrived by basal laceration and quickly developed into a new anemone


Food:  Small planktonic organisms, and occasionally dead organisms and jellyfish if they are propelled into the anemones by strong currents. Larvae of all sorts. 
See Aquarium Husbandry below

Northern hemisphere, temperate seas, Atlantic and Pacific.

Additional Notes:

The common name Plumrose is wrong and arose because of typset error in an old book. 

The small variant pallidus is alleged to be a different species. It certainly looks different at times and never grows to a large size, but otherwise behaves in an identical way. 

Eco-types, genetically isolated races of this anmone may occur. Some may have a greater ability to survive in anoxic conditions. (Shick,  page 123.) 

Aquarium Husbandry:
Because its diet is almost exclusively very small organisms this anemone can be tricky to feed in aquaria. The nematocysts will activate at the presence of live food in the aquaria, plankton, freshly hatched brine shrimp Artemia, and then the anemone will ingest large food particles e.g. pieces of boiled mussel. 
Feeding in Sea Anemones

One unusual record was of a group of Metridium on an underwater cliff face that appeared to have captured an Aurelia, possibly a dying one that had drifted onto them.  The grip by the Metridium colony was firm enough to hold it against water being wafted across it by a diver's hand.  Presumably individuals were feeding but I cannot be sure of that.

Report by Michael Bates (Port Erin Marine Laboratory, Isle of Man)
NB:  Records of Plumose Anemomes, Metridium senile, feeding on jellyfish on all the venomous species received before on several occasions. AH.

Specimen in Loch Fyne (External Site)

Message to the Cnidarian Worldwide Forum   28 November 1999


Catch Tentacles in Metridium senile

My research indicated that dissection of Metridium senile failed to discover separate "catch tentacles". Now, anybody who has any experience of this anemone (English Channel specimens) will discover:

1)  catch tentacles appear on certain occasions
2)  introduction of plankton, brine shrimp, fresh seawater can (not always) induce the appearance of the "catch tentacles" in this species. 

Certain hypotheses can be thought up from these observations. However, further information would be useful. 

The questions are:

1) are "catch tentacles" regularly found in pickled specimens of Metridium senile?
2) what distinguishes the "catch tentacles" in dissected specimens from the ordinary tentacles (apart from the length and size)?

If anybody has investigated this anemone and knows the answers to these questions, I would be very interested. It will help formulate a description of what happens. I might even be able to suggest a reason why. (I have already thought up the reason and now I have to check it out.)

Gosse christened this anemone PLUMOSE which is widely (almost 100%)  used in the UK and it is a very apt and attractive name. 


Andy Horton

Link to Replies

Information wanted: Please send any records of this sea anemone, with location, date, who discovered it, how it was identified, prevalence, common name and any other details to: 
Shorewatch Project EMail 
All messages will receive a reply. 
Shorewatch Project
Cnidaria Web Site (World)

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