Actinia tenebrosa Click to enlarge image
Waratah Anemone, Actinia tenebrosa Image: Dr Isobel Bennett
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    tenebrosa
    Genus
    Actinia
    Family
    Actiniidae
    Suborder
    Endocoelantheae
    Order
    Actiniaria
    Subclass
    Hexacorallia
    Phylum
    Cnidaria
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    4 cm

Introduction

The Waratah Anemone is named after the beautiful red Waratah flower that is the emblem of New South Wales.

Identification

This small, brown-red anemone is the most noticeable species of anemone on Sydney's rocky shores.

Distribution

The Waratah Anemone is found throughout southern Australia.

Other behaviours and adaptations

At low tide the Waratah Anemone looks like a small red blob on crevices near rock pools. In this state it has all its tentacles drawn in to minimise its exposure to the air while it waits for the return of the tide. Quite often, a number of small anemones will be near the adult. This is because the young are released, fully developed, through the adult anemone's mouth. The offspring attach to the nearest rock surface available. At high tide or in rock pools with plenty of water, the anemone opens out to feed, unfurling its beautiful red tentacles.