Snakelocks Anemone – Anemonia sulcata / viridis

The Snakelocks Anemone is a species in the order of sea anemones and thus belongs to the class of Anthozoa. Although its correct scientific name is Anemonia sulcata, sometimes it can be found under the name Anemonia viridis.

Snakelocks anemone -Anemonia sulcata viridis - Anthozoa diving canary islands species atlantic ocean canaries
Snakelocks Anemone – Anemonia sulcata


There are two different forms of the Snakelocks Anemone. The smaller has 70 to 192 tentacles and its foot disc reaches a maximum diameter of 5cm. The larger one reaches a maximum diameter of 15 to 20cm and has 192 to 384 tentacles. These tentacles have a greenish colour with violet tips.

Habitat and Distribution

Anemonia sulcata lives on rocky ground. The smaller one is usually found in very shallow water, with a lot of movement, down to 5m depth. The larger version can be found up to 25m deep. When diving in the Canaries you can observe them very frequently. The Snakelocks Anemone is also distributed in the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Atlantic from the coasts of North Africa, across the European coasts and the English Channel all the way to Scotland.


In shallow waters, the small version of Anemonia sulcata is found in colonies, while the larger one lives solitary. They feed on small fish, crustaceans and molluscs.
In contrast to other anemones, the Snakelocks Anemone can not retract their tentacles into the interior. In addition, they cause a burning pain when being touched!

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