sea anemones text index | photo index
Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Actiniaria
Banded bead anemone
Anthopleura sp.*
Family Actiniidae
updated Nov 2019
if you learn only 3 things about them ...
These tiny animals are everywhere on the shore. Don't step on them!
Look for them among cracks in large boulders as well.
They tuck their tentacles into their bodies at low tide.

Where seen? These small anemones are often seen on our rocky areas that are exposed even at moderate tides. Usually in clusters of many individuals. Crowded near the base of boulders, in crevices and cracks of the boulders and even in the sand nearby.

When exposed to air at low tide, it tucks its tentacles into its body column so it looks like a bead of jelly. Those in the sand may retract completely, leaving only little holes. It is easy to miss these small delicate animals and to accidentally step on them.

To see one with the tentacles expanded, look for pools where some might still remain submerged.

Features: Diameter with tentacles expanded 1-2cm. One ring of tapering tentacles with a banded pattern. The oral disk is relatively large compared to the tentacles and is sometimes patterned. The entire animal is usually in shades of brown and beige. Although often found in groups of many individuals packed close to one another, it is a solitary polyp and not a colonial animal.

There are several species of Anthopleura that may be found near one another and are hard to distinguish in the field.

Anthopleura handi: Occurs in smaller numbers of larger individuals. The anemone and its veruccae are a dull grey green.

Anthopleura dixoniana: Occurs in large numbers of smaller individuals. The anemone's oral disk has a distinctive pale-dark chequer-board pattern. It is darker with dark body column and verrucae that are lighter than the body column.

Anthopleura nigrescens: Compared to A. dixoniana, individuals are larger with a darker body column, more conspicuous verrucae and the bumps around the top of the body column under the tentacles (called acrorhagi) have white tips.

Anthopleura buddemeieri: Pale body column with red spots along the entire length, tentacles grey with a reddish cast.

Chek Jawa, Oct 04

Chek Jawa, Mar 05

Chek Jawa, Mar 05

Anthopleura dixoniana
Punggol, Jun 12

Anthopleura buddemeieri

St. John's Island, Oct 11

Anthopleura dixoniana

St. John's Island

Changi, Oct 09
Often found in crevices on large rocks.

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Banded bead anemones on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Sembawang, Dec 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Ubin OBS, Jan 16
Photo shared by Lisa Lim on facebook.

Pulau Tekukor, Jan 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his flickr.



  • Daphne Gail Fautin, S. H. Tan and Ria Tan. Dec 2009. Sea anemones (Cnidaria: Actiniaria) of Singapore: abundant and well-known shallow-water species. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. Pp. 121-143.
  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • Ng, P. K. L. & Y. C. Wee, 1994. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened Plants and Animals of Singapore. The Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. 343 pp.
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