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Urticina (Tealia) felina

Linnaeus, 1761

Dahlia anemone


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Latin name : Urticina (Tealia) felina (Linnaeus, 1761)
Synonyms :
Classification : Actiniaria ( Anemones )
Name : Dahlia de mer
Name : Dahlia anemone
Main identification characters
A large anemone (base up to 15 cm diameter) with up to 160 short (up to 2 cm), stout tentacles arranged in multiples of ten. Individuals from offshore tend to be larger. The coloration is very variable, ranging through white, yellow, orange, red, blue, grey, purple and brown being either plain or more commonly in some combination. Perhaps most commonly with a red column blotched with green/grey and a prominent pattern of red lines amongst the tentacle bases. The tentacles are usually banded but may be plain. There are numerous grey warts on the column to which gravel and shell fragments stick. When the tentacles are fully retracted, the body of the anemones may be almost obscured by these adherent particles.
Possible confusions
Other anemones coat themselves with gravel :
- Anthopleura thallia, which is small, with relatively long tentacles which are arranged irregularly, colour very different from Urticina felina.
- Cereus pedunculatus and Sagartia troglodytes which have acontia and slender tentacles arranged in multiples of 6.
Feel free to update this datasheet and complete this data.
Cycle of life / Reproduction
Reproduction: Sea anemones reproduce in various ways. Some simply divide their bodies into two new anemones. Others split off sections of their basal discs, which then develop into new animals. In some species, each animal produces eggs and sperm; in others, the sexes are separate. The eggs and sperm are released into the water, with fertilization depending upon the different sex cells drifting into contact with one another. Then fertilized eggs develop into larvae that settle on the seabed and grow into young anemones.
Interaction with other species
Special Relationships: The sea anemone provides one of nature’s best examples of symbiosis – a relationship in which two types of organisms benefit from living closely with one another. The cloak anemone lives on the shell of the hermit crab. The crab gains protection from predators, which are driven off by the anemone’s stinging cells, while the anemone gets food scraps discarded by the crab. In tropical waters, certain species of fish live among sea anemones’ tentacles. The most famous is the clownfish, which has a covering of protective mucus that prevents it from being stung by the sea anemone’s tentacles. In this way the clownfish gains protection from predators.


On rocks, shells, etc. Typically a species of the lower shore and the shallow sublittoral but also from deeper water. Often forms large beds in the Laminaria zone on exposed, open coasts.
Geographical distribution
Common on all coasts northwest Europe (absent in the Mediterranean), possibly circumpolar but may have been confused with other species.
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Data sheet written by Christophe Naslain , 5/03/2003

Updates :
Christophe Naslain - 05/03/2003
Christophe Naslain - 05/11/2003
Troniac - 08/09/2004

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