sea anemones text index | photo index
Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Actiniaria
Snail-hitching anemone
Awaiting identification
updated Nov 2019

Where seen? This tiny anemone is sometimes seen stuck onto shells occupied by living snails such as whelks (Family Nassaridae). Sometimes also seen attached to tiny stones in silty sandy shores. They are more frequently encountered on our Northern shores, but also sometimes seen on other shores.

Features: Diameter with tentacles extended 1-1.5cm. Tentacles many, long and thin, usually transparent with white bands. On the oral disk, often fine white stripes radiating from the mouth.
Sometimes, a pair of tentacles are of a contrasting colour so that the anemone appears to have a moustache. Body column brown with pale stripes. Sometimes, a single single shell may bear two or three of these anemones. When full expanded, these anemone hitch-hikers may be bigger than the snail they are riding on!

There are also small anemones that hitch a ride on a shell occupied by a hermit crab.

Paraiptasia radiata (Family Aiptasiidae) is a small anemone (about 1cm tall) often seen on a snail. It has a striped body column and finely striped oral disk.

Pulau Sekudu, May 08

Chek Jawa, Jul 11

Anemones stick out when snail is buried.
Chek Jawa, Jul 11

Woodlands, Jul 08
Woodlands, Jul 08

Kranji, Jul 09

Not attached to snails.
Kranji, Jul 09

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

Snail-hitching anemones on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Sisters Island, Aug 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Punggol, Sep 18
Photo shared by Dayna Cheah on facebook.

Pulau Sudong, Dec 09

Kranji, Mar 17
Snail-hitching sea anemones on Mud whelk (Nassarius jacksonianus)


  • Daphne Gail Fautin, S. H. Tan and Ria Tan. 30 Dec 2009. Sea anemones (Cnidaria: Actiniaria) of Singapore: abundant and well-known shallow-water species. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement No. 22: 121-143.
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