Feather-duster anemone

Feather –duster anemone

Metridium senile

Common name:

Feather –duster anemone

Scientific name:

Metridium senile

Alternative common names:


The feather – duster anemone is an anemone with a diverse range of forms. They are cold water dwellers, found in all of the world’s cold water oceans. It has numerous tentacles at the top of the column. They occur in intertidal to sub tidal zones down to depths of 200 m.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

North West Europe and east and west of North America

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA category 3

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Cape Town Table harbour Bay in Western Cape Province.

How does it spread?

The feather –duster anemone is dispersed by attaching itself to floating objects. If it lets go of its normally firmly anchored holdfast, it is frequently current-swept into new surroundings.

Why is it a problem?

Problematic for stock species as can compete for space and resources, obstructs the opening of bivalve shells and nets, reduces the value of shellfish, increases the weight of equipment, increases labour and production costs as a result of cleaning and removal of biofouling.

What does it look like?

Description: Metridium senile is an anemone of very variable form. The base is wider than the column and often irregular. When expanded, the numerous tentacles form a ‘plume’ above a conspicuous parapet at the top of the smooth column. Large individuals may be 30 cm high. The colour is plain, commonly white orange or dark green but brown, grey or occasionally red or yellow varieties occur.

Habitat: Rocks, shells, floating docks, pilings; especially in bays. Occasionally found on the carapace and claws of kelp crabs.

Breeding: Fertilization is external, and release of sperm into the water triggers release of eggs from females nearby. Eggs are pink and about 0.1 mm diameter.

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