North Sea tube anemone (Cerianthus lloydii)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Cerianthus lloydii is a brownish, tube-dwelling anemone up to 15 cm long. The mouth and tentacles project above the surface of the sand from the soft tube, which can be up to 40 cm long and is permanently buried. There are about 70 long tapering tentacles that may be brown, green or white and are often banded with darker brown. These tentacles cannot be fully retracted and surround many smaller inner tentacles that obscure the mouth. However, the animal can retract into its tube if disturbed.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded all around the coast of Britain, except on the east coast between the Tees estuary and The Wash. It may be locally abundant in some places.

Global distribution

Found around all western coasts of Europe from Greenland and Spitzbergen, south to Brittany.


Adults live permanently in tubes that are buried in sand, mud or gravel, from LWST to about 100 m depth.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • A tube-dwelling anemone with a brownish body up to 15 cm long.
  • The mouth and tentacles project above the sand from the deeply buried tube.
  • Many short inner tentacles obscure the mouth. Disc surrounded by about 70 long tapering tentacles, which may be brown, green or white and are often banded with darker brown.

Additional information


Listed by

- none -


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  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  2. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset Accessed via on 2018-10-01

  3. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. St Andrews BioBlitz 2015. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-27.

  4. Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society Marine Invertebrate Records 1853- 2011. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-27.

  5. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  6. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  7. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-05-23


This review can be cited as:

Avant, P. 2008. Cerianthus lloydii North Sea tube anemone. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 23-05-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 24/04/2008