sea anemones text index | photo index
Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Actiniaria
Frilly anemones
Phymanthus sp.*
Family Phymantidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? These sea anemones with many fine 'branches' on their tentacles are often seen on many of our shores. Among coral rubble, usually with the body column wedged in crevices.

Features: Diameter with tentacles expanded 8-12cm. Tentacles about 3-5cm long with elaborate 'branches'. Only one side of the tentacle appears to bear the 'branches'. The anemones come in a wide variety of colours and their branched tentacles may have different patterns. Also sometimes encountered are branched sea anemones with tentacles that are generally smooth with only slight bumps.

The body column is pale becoming darker near the top and has longitudinal rows of white verrucae. The anemone can tuck its tentacles into its body column.

Sometimes mistaken for other feathery animals. Here's more on how to tell apart feathery animals on our shores.

Frilly friends: The Frilly sea anemone harbours symbiotic algae (called zooxanthellae) that photosynthesize. The algae share the food produced with the anemone, which in turn provides the algae with shelter and minerals. A pair of Peacock-tail anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) were seen once in a Frilly anemone.

Status and threats: Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, sea anemones are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless visitors, and over-collection by hobbyists also have an impact on local populations.

Beting Bemban Besar, May 11

Only one side of the tentacle bears 'branches'.

A pair of Peacock-tail anemone shrimps seen in this anemone.
Tanah Merah, May 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Spitting out indigestibles?
Sisters Island, Jun 07

Terumbu Selegie, Jun 11

Pulau Semakau, Apr 08

Bleaching frilly anemone
Cyrene Reef, Aug 10

Bleaching frilly anemone
Cyrene Reef, Jul 10

One with a bright orange mouth.
Sisters Island, Jun 09

Six of the tentacles usually of a different colour.
Tentacles with bands.
Tentacles uniformly coloured 'branches' may be outlined in white.

Tentacles smooth, but with small branches visible.
Mouth with fine white lines radiating from the centre.
Tentacles with violet tips.

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

  • Erhardt, Harry and Daniel Knop. 2005. Corals: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 305 pp.
  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
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