Yellow cluster anemone (Parazoanthus axinellae)

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



Parazoanthus axinellae is a colonial anemone. The polyps are up 1.5 cm tall, 0.5 cm in diameter and yellow in colour. The anemone has 26-34 moderate to long tapering tentacles which are bright yellow in colour and arranged into 2 cycles. The column is often encrusted with sand granules or sponge spicules.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Parazoanthus axinellae has been recorded on the south west and west coasts of the British Isles.

Global distribution

Parazoanthus axinellae has been recorded around southwest Europe to the Mediterranean.


Parazoanthus axinellae is usually found attached to organic substrata including sponges, shells and worm tubes. It is also found on rocks. Parazoanthus axinellae is found from the shallow sublittoral offshore to about 100 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Colonial anemone.
  • Yellow polyps 1.5 cm tall, 0.5 cm in diameter.
  • 26-34 bright yellow tentacles, usually 30-32.
  • Column often encrusted with sand grains or sponge spicules.

Additional information

Parazoanthus anguicomus is a similar northern species. It is whitish, slightly larger, with 34-44 tentacles and is found in deeper water (Hayward & Ryland 1995).


  1. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  2. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  4. Manuel, R.L., 1988. British Anthozoa. Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) (ed. D.M. Kermack & R.S.K. Barnes). The Linnean Society of London [Synopses of the British Fauna No. 18.]. DOI

  5. Moore, J., 2002. An atlas of marine Biodiversity Action Plan species and habitats and Species of Conservation Concern in Wales, 2nd edn. Report to the Countryside Council for Wales, CCW Contract Science Report no. 509.

  6. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin.


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

  3. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-07-21


This review can be cited as:

Ager, O.E.D. 2007. Parazoanthus axinellae Yellow cluster 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 21-07-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 20/02/2007