Jewel anemone (Corynactis viridis)

Jewel anemones

Top facts

  • The mouth of the jewel anemone is surrounded by up to 100 tentacles.
  • Jewel anemones are often found in huge groups on suitable substrates.
  • The jewel anemone reproduces by splitting in half, using a process called ‘longitudinal fission’.
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Jewel anemone fact file

Jewel anemone description

GenusCorynactis (1)

The jewel anemone (Corynactis viridis) is so-called because of its spectacular colouration. Individuals may be bright green, orange, red, pink or white and the tentacles and their tips are typically contrasting colours (3). The body of this anemone, correctly known as the ‘column’ is smooth, and has a rather squat appearance (3). Up to 100 tentacles, each terminating in a small swelling, are arranged in three rings around the mouth, which is situated at the top of a small cone (4).

Height: up to 15 mm (3)
Diameter at base: up to 10 mm (2)

Jewel anemone biology

This anemone is often found in very large aggregations in suitable habitats, particularly on vertical surfaces (2). It reproduces asexually by means of ‘longitudinal fission’, in which means that individuals spilt in half. Sometimes this fission is not complete and two anemones may remain partially attached (5).


Jewel anemone range

This anemone is common on the south and western coasts of Britain (4) and reaches the northern extreme of its range in the Shetland Isles (3). It is found as far south as the Mediterranean (4).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Jewel anemone habitat

Found on rocks in shaded places such as beneath overhangs and in crevices on the lower shore (2), extending down to the sublittoral to depths of about 80 m (3).


Jewel anemone status

Not threatened (2).


Jewel anemone threats

This species is not threatened.


Jewel anemone conservation

Not relevant.

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Find out more

For more on this species see:

Ager, O.E.D. (2001) Corynactis viridis. Jewel anemone Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme. [On-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 27/11/2003]. Available on-line at:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



Of asexual reproduction: reproduction that does not involve the formation of sex cells (‘gametes’). In many species, asexual reproduction can occur by fission (or in plants ‘vegetative reproduction’); part of the organism breaks away and develops into a separate individual. Some animals, including vertebrates can develop from unfertilised eggs, this process, known as parthenogenesis gives rise to offspring that are genetically identical to the parent.
A marine zone between the littoral zone (the shallow zone where light reaches the bed, subject to submersion and exposure by tides) and depths of around 200m.


  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September, 2003)
  2. Ager, O.E.D. (2001) Corynactis viridis. Jewel anemone Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme. [On-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. (November, 2003)
  3. Fish, J.D. and Fish, S. (1989) A student’s guide to the seashore. Unwin Hyman Ltd., London.
  4. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. and Rogers, A. (2001) Photographic Guide to the Sea & Shore Life of Britain and North-west Europe. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Picton, B.E. and Morrow, C.C. (2002) [In] Encyclopaedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. (September, 2003)

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Jewel anemones  
Jewel anemones


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