Sea Anemones







British Marine Life Study Society

   Strawberry Beadlet
Common Name(s):
Beadlet Anemone (Strawberry variety)
Scientific Name:
 Actinia fragacea
Usual Size:                  cm 

  (in captivity) 

                                       Photograph by  Andy Horton

Tentacles, usually red or cream. Pic.

Strawberry-like (usually green on a red column) spots all over the column of this anemone. The similar species Actinia equina can have green stripes and dotted lines, so there can be confusion between the species as the dividing line is not clearly demarked by appearance. 

NB: observations by Andy Horton (writer of the this page):

6 February 2012
The Beadlet Anemone, Actinia equina, collected on Worthing Beach on 18 April 2011 is now a "strawberry type" with pale tentacles which is frequently seen in wild specimens. It has a reddish-brown column with a full array of green spots. 

28 October 2011
A second smaller light brown Beadlet Anemone,Actinia equina, collected over six months previously was now beginning to develop the "strawberry type" Actinia fragacea, patterns. The lights green spots were difficult to observe on the light brown column. 

22 October 2011
The Beadlet Anemone, Actinia equina, collected on Worthing Beach on 18 April 2011 and recorded immediately below, has now developed into an immediately recognisable as a "strawberry type" Actinia fragacea, but not a bright crimson as a "classic" specimen: the column is dark brown spotted with small green spots, the tentacles were now a light crimson.

19 May 2011
A large plain green specimen of the Beadlet Anemone, Actinia equina, collected on Worthing Beach on 18 April 2011 suddenly diminished in a manner seen before in the Actinia sea anemones. The green specimen with a basal diameter of approximately 60 mm and a larger tentacle span shrivelled up into a smaller version that looked as though it might be dying, and the tentacles became thinner than those of the Snakelocks Anemones, Anemonia viridis, and the oral disc disappeared from view covered by the partially retracted tentacles. On 20 May 2011, I noted that sea anemone had returned to its normal appearance. On 21 May 2011 I noticed that its column was covered in spots which were pronounced enough to be nearer in appearance to the designated species Actinia fragacea. Its spots were distinct light green but the background colour of the column became brown rather than red. It was slightly smaller with a basal diameter of about 50 mm. Intermediate forms or Actinia equina with green lines and spots are known to occur occasionally. This anemone has green tentacles whereas the usual "strawberry type" has crimson or red tentacles

Similar species:  Actinia equina

Not known. Viviparity has not been observed and documented, despite extensive observation. 

In late February 2003 I was fortunate enough, and rather pleasantly surprised, to find a rather large strawberry anemone  (a green variant of around 10 cm crown diameter) underneath a relatively small, unanchored flat piece of rock, at the mid-tide level of the shore near Rock-a-Nore Road, Hastings. I removed the anemone and placed it in my marine aquarium following an overnight period of thermal acclimation to its new surroundings (warming-up rate of around 1 degree C per hour) to room temperature with aeration in a bucket. Since then the anemone has settled in well to aquarium life.

Reproductive Madness...
On 15 April 2003, one day following a complete change of the water in the tank, the above strawberry anemone started spewing out beige-coloured lumps and strings of particulate material from its "mouth" which quickly broke up and was dispersed by the water flow circulating in the tank. I siphoned off some of this material for closer examination with a x10 hand lens which revealed what looked like white/beige-coloured eggs - perfectly uniform and spherical in shape. After 3 hours of ejecting this material the water in the 60 x 30 x 30 cm tank had turned a cloudy milky colour. Within 24 hours it started to smell (the type of smell you get if you leave an unaerated bucket of natural seawater for a day or two) and within 48 hours I had to carry out a complete change of the aquarium water.

Following the above event the strawberry shrunk temporarily in size. Now the 18 April (3 days later), the above strawberry seems to have regained its former size, following refeeding, and seems to be fit and well.

  Report by Mike Guye 

Intertidal, mid-tide zone to shallow seas. 
This anemone may migrate off the shore in winter into offshore seas. 

Small crustaceans, molluscs, molluscs flesh.

One record of a large 40 mm specimen catching a small 30 mm Blenny (May 2000)


Not found on British North Sea coasts.  Northern shore of the English Channel east up to Hastings, East Sussex.  Probably found on the Kent coast, but confirmation needed. 

I collected 6 Strawberry Anemones today at Falmouth Gyllingvase Beach, Cornwall.  They are prolific at mid-low water mark but only on the one set of rocks on the north/west side of the beach, they do not appear at all on the rocks on the opposite side.     Simon Birch

I have found very healthy specimens at Freshwater Bay on the Isle off Wight (butI could find them nowhere else on the island) in 1997 and 1998
I found a small number at Carlion Bay, St Austell, Cornwall in September 2000.
One of them was the smallest that I have ever seen, with a base of well under 1 cm.  It looked plump and healthy, and was in a rock crevice with a large specimen, so I assumed it to be young. 
Elaine Frogley

Additional Notes:

I have kept a specimen of the "strawberry" Beadlet Actinia fragacea from the NE Atlantic Ocean that lived for 10 years (without showing any sign of reproducing) and it may have lived much longer. I got the specimens muddled up when transferring them to another tank. AH
A specimen in my aquarium is at least 18 years old (Andy Horton, Autumn 2002)
Long-lived Specimen (link)

Now, an interesting observation in my aquaria is a brown Beadlet Anemone that appears to be developing the strawberry pattern when it was previously all brown. This is my first observation of this in over 30 years.Andy Horton (20 December 2001)

A small specimen appeared from nowhere in my aquarium. (Andy Horton, Autumn 2002)

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


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