Below are examples of anemones I’ve seen living on Oregon’s exposed rocky intertidal. Compared to what you could find, it’s a limited sample, just the most obvious common forms I’ve been lucky enough to photograph on the shores I visit. The photos are from northern Oregon unless noted. Organization-wise, I follow Lamb and Hanby (2005). I refer to WoRMS for species names, and if I use common names, they’re my choice. The books, field guides, and identification resources listed at the bottom of the page cover the anemones shown below and many more.
Let there be anemones!
Metridium senile, short plumose anemone
Underwater, with its tentacles extended, it’s a beautiful anemone. But, unfortunately, I only experience that beauty rarely on exposed northern Oregon shores. Those in the photo below found favorable conditions on a protected overhanging rock face.
I think the anemones shown in the set below are Urticina grebelnyi. Still, I can’t claim much experience with Urticina nor much in the way of anemone identification skills, so there is some uncertainty. Either way, this good-sized anemone is a low intertidal beauty.
Anthopleura xanthogrammica, giant green anemone Giant greens have been honored with one of the best scientific names, and with their accessibility, size, and beauty, they’re a tidepool superstar. To see an intimate view of the oral disk, click here.
This anemone carries around a lot of common names, the most familiar of which, at least to me, are aggregating and pink-tipped green. One nice thing about them is you don’t have to wait for a super low tide to find them. Instead, they’re abundant on mid-intertidal rocks where it’s worth spending a few moments looking for lines of separation between adjacent aggregations. Anthopleura elegnatissima is featured in Aggregating Anemones Handle the Sand, and Anthopleura elegantissima Lives Up to All Its Common Names.
Anthopleura artemisia, moonglow anemone
On the exposed outer coast, you’ll almost always find moonglows where sand meets rock.
Gotshall, D. W. 2005. Guide to Marine Invertebrates, Alaska to Baja California 2nd Edition (Revised). Shoreline Press.
Harbo, R. M. 2011. Whelks to Whales: Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. 2nd ed. Harbour Publishing Co.
Kozloff, E. N. 1993. Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast. 3rd ed. University of Washington Press.
Lamb, A. and B. P. Hanby. 2005. Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing.
Sept. J. D. 2019. The New Beachcomber’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing.
Biodiversity of the Central Coast’s Cnidarians and Ctenophores page. Accessed 01/19/2023.
Friends of Netarts Bay WEBS Sea Anemonies, Hydroides, Jellies (Phylum Cnideria) page. Accessed 01/19/2023.
It’s worth scrolling down to anemones in Common Sea Life of Southeastern Alaska: A field guide by Aaron Baldwin & Paul Norwood. Accessed 01/19/2023.
Cowles, D. (2004, as edited). Anthopleura artemisia (Pickering in Dana, 1848). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed 01/19/2023.
Cowles, D. (2005). Metridium senile subsp. fimbriatum (Verrill, 1865) [Harbo, 1999 says Linnaeus, 1767]. Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed 01/19/2023.
Cowles, D. (2005). Urticina crassicornis (O. F. Muller, 1776). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed 01/19/2023.
Piazzola, C.D. and T.C. Hiebert. 2015. Metridium senile. In: Oregon Estuarine Invertebrates: Rudys’ Illustrated Guide to Common Species, 3rd ed. T.C. Hiebert, B.A. Butler and A.L. Shanks (eds.). University of Oregon Libraries and Oregon Institute of Marine Biol- ogy, Charleston, OR. Accessed 01/20/2023. Accessed 01/19/2023.
Piazzola, C.D. and T.C. Hiebert. 2015. Anthopleura artemisia. In: Oregon Estuarine Invertebrates: Rudys’ Illustrated Guide to Com- mon Species, 3rd ed. T.C. Hiebert, B.A. Butler and A.L. Shanks (eds.). University of Oregon Libraries and Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, Charleston, OR. Accessed 01/22/2023.
White, B. (2002 as edited). Anthopleura xanthogrammica, Brandt (1835). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed 01/19/2023.
White, B. (2002 as edited). Anthopleura elegantissima (Brandt, 1835). Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. Accessed 01/19/2023.
I updated this page January 22, 2023