Starlet Sea Anemone (Nematostella vectensis) - Species Action Plan

Ref 1/S18 Species Action Plan 18
Plan Author: Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Plan Co-ordinator: Coastal BAP Topic Group
Final draft 31 December 1998
Final revised draft May 2006

Action Plan Summary

Current Status

National Status

  • The starlet sea anemone is a tiny anemone, with the column rarely more than 15mm in length. It is translucent and colourless in appearance except for variable patterns of opaque white. The tentacles are large in proportion to the body, colourless and translucent with pale tips and with faint transverse bars and irregular flecks of white. The tentacles (9-18) are very strongly adhesive (from
  • The anemone is usually found buried upright in soft muds at the edges of creeks in saltmarshes and brackish pools, sometimes attached to sea grasses, reed stems or algae. It feeds on small invertebrates associated with mudflats.
  • The starlet sea anemone occurs in only a few coastal lagoons in the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, and Dorset and along the East Anglian coast. It may also occur in some brackish ponds and ditches. The species is listed as vulnerable by IUCN/WCMC and rare on the GB Red List and is protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 

Norfolk Status

  • This anemone was known to be present at Half Moon Pond, Cley and Salthouse Broad (Bamber 1997) within the North Norfolk Natural Area and Abraham’s Bosom in north-west Norfolk (Williams 1987). Current status is unknown.

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Current factors affecting the habitat in Norfolk

Loss and damage to lagoon and other sheltered brackish water habitats caused by pollution, drainage and other activities. Isolation of pools leading to fragmentation of populations. Coastal defence works and associated filling. Coastal erosion and natural shingle movements. Lagoons at Cley and Salthouse are likely to be affected by changes in shingle bank and inundation regime due to future changes in maintenance of the shingle ridge.

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Current Action in Norfolk

None since the creation of the new lagoon at Salthouse.

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Action Plan Objectives and Targets

The aim is to link objectives, targets and actions within this plan to those within the Saline Lagoon Action Plan and ensure that the two plans are compatible.


  • Maintain viable populations at all known localities.
  • If biologically feasible, re-introduce to 5 sites by the year 2005.


  • Maintain and protect the viable populations at Half Moon Pond, Salthouse Broad and Abraham's Bosom, subject to natural change.

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