Snakelocks anemone

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Snakelocks anemone
Snakelocks anemone.jpg
In Dorset, England
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Actiniaria
Family: Actiniidae
Genus: Anemonia
A. viridis
Binomial name
Anemonia viridis
Forskål, 1775
  • Actinia viridis Gmelin
  • Anemonia sulcata viridis Andres, 1881
  • Priapus viridis Forsskål, 1775

The snakelocks anemone (Anemonia viridis) is a sea anemone found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The latter population is however sometimes considered a separate species, the Mediterranean snakelocks anemone (Anemonia sulcata).[2]

The tentacles of anemones in deep or murky water can be a grey colour, but are otherwise usually a deep green colour with purple tips due to the presence of symbiotic algae within the tentacles that use sunlight as an energy source. As a result, the anemones prefer brightly lit shallow waters. On average the snakelock anemone is 8 cm wide.


Unlike other cnidarians, anemones (and other Anthozoa) entirely lack the free-swimming medusa stage of the life cycle; the polyp produces eggs and sperm, and the fertilized egg develops into a planula that develops directly into another polyp.

Relationship with other animals[edit]

Several species of small animals regularly live in a symbiotic or commensal relationship with the snakelocks anemone, gaining protection from predators by residing among the venomous tentacles. These include the incognito (or anemone) goby (Gobius incognitus),[3] the shrimp Periclimenes aegylios and the Leach's spider crab (Inachus phalangium).[4]

Human uses[edit]

This species is widely consumed in southwestern Spain, in the Gulf of Cádiz region, as ortiguillas de mar (literally, "little sea nettles", because it has urticant properties before it is cooked), or simply ortiguillas. The whole animal is marinated in vinegar, coated in a tempura-like batter, and deep-fried in olive oil.[5] Ortiguillas are offered in some coastal Andalusian restaurants as a delicacy. They are similar in appearance and texture to croquettes, but have a strong seafood taste. This anemone is also consumed in Sardinia, where it is deep fried in olive oil and known as orziadas.

It is becoming a popular aquarium pet, especially in Europe and readily adapts to aquaria.



  1. ^ "WoRMS - World Register of Marine Species - Anemonia viridis (Forsskål, 1775)". Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  2. ^ Daly, M.; Fautin, D. (2018). "Anemonia sulcata (Pennant, 1777)". WoRMS. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 4 January 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Patzner, R.A. (5 July 2017). "Gobius incognitus". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  4. ^ Debelius, H. (2001). Crustacea Guide of the World. pp. 26 and 89. ISBN 978-3931702748
  5. ^ Receta: Ortiguillas de Mar

External links[edit]