Strawberry Anemone

Large size (10cm across) and green spots which give them their name. They prefer living in shaded spots in the mid-low rocky shore. They can detach themselves from rocks to find ideal conditions, moving up to 10cm an hour!

Photo By Louise Tee

Beadlet anemone

Common on the rocky shore as small red/orange/green blobs when out of water. They are aggressive and territorial, possessing stinging cells with microscopic harpoons used for harming prey and competitors.

Photo By Kirstie de la Mer

Gem anemone

Look out for their pink, grey & olive striped tentacles. Also known as the wartlet anemone due to the wart-like bumps, known as verrucae, that cover the column. When disturbed, the gem anemone contracts into a ball.

Photo By Ben Holt

Snakelock anemone

One of the most beautiful species in UK rock pools. They are found in different colour forms and contain photosynthetic algae symbionts within their tissue. Green morphs of this species fluoresce green in UV light as shown in this picture!

Photo By Christophe Patterson

Brown Snakelock morph

Snakelocks anemones are also found with a brown colour. Whilst the symbiotic algae that are found in green morphs remain the same, the brown morphs colour comes from a lack of fluorescent protein. Other than that the two morphs are identical.

Photo By Ben Holt


Dahlia anemones

Named after dahlia flowers, these anemones are beautifully coloured and can exhibit gravel and shell fragments that stick to warts on their base. They are reasonably large and have short, striped tentacles.

Photo By Charlotte Cummings

Edible crab

These are the species that may end up in your crab sandwiches! AKA pasty crab due to its crimped edges on its carapace! It is red/brown in colour and can be found at mid-shore heights.

Photo By Jade

Furrowed crab

There are two furrowed crab species in Cornwall, Montagu's and Risso’s.  Whilst sharing a similar shell style, the Risso’s crab has much hairier legs. They typically display two different defence strategies: 1. Curl up into a ‘pebble-like’ form (usually the smaller ones); 2. Spread their limbs out to try and make themselves as big and intimidating as possible!

Photo By Heather Slater

Common shore crab

As the name suggests this is the most common crab you will encounter. After moulting, new shells are brown/green in colour but, not unlike the people, turn orange/red after significant sun bathing! They can grow up to 10cm in carapace width.

Photo By Jade

Velvet swimming crab

Menacing looking creature aka the devil crab due to it's dark, velvet carapace and red eyes! The back legs of this crab are adapted for swimming. It can often be found half buried in the sand, as the velvety hairs on its back trap mud/debris, giving it perfect camouflage!

Photo By Heather Slater

St Piran’s crab

A rare crab species which has been rediscovered in Cornwall in recent years after disappearing (presuming from pollution) in the 1980s. It’s delicate bright red limbs with blue spots distinguish it from the plainer red/orange common hermit crab.

Photo By Charlotte Cumming

Common brittle star

The more delicate relative of starfish and sea urchins, the brittle star is common on British coastlines and can live up to 10 years! Like many reptiles, they can shed their limbs when they feel threatened and so must be handled with care (if necessary).

Photo By Abbie Smith


Spiny starfish

A common and large species on the South West coast. As its name suggests, these are distinguished from the common starfish by the three rows of spines which run along each arm. Like other starfish, they have ‘ocella’ on the tips of their arms which allow them to detect movement. 

Photo By Stuart Reynolds

Cushion star

The cushion star is so named for its squat body and short arms. Although usually found by rock poolers to be only a couple cm in length, they can actually grow up to 5cm! They have hundreds of short orange spines across their body which give them a rough texture.   

Photo By Meaghan Castledine


Blue-rayed limpet

A stunning and small (2cm) limpet species with distinctive dashed blue stripes along its shell. They are usually found feeding on kelp low on the rocky shore as they are susceptible to drying out.

Photo By Charlotte Cumming


This herbivorous species grazes on many species of algae. Although they can survive out of water for some time, if one gets too hot it will retract within its shell, fall off the rock in the hope of landing in water!

Photo By Heather Slater


Worm pipefish

The worm pipefish is often overlooked as seaweed owing to its slender body and singular pectoral fin. Pipefish are related to seahorses and share the iconic ‘snoutlike’ face. Like seahorses, the fathers’ care for the offspring as the female sticks the eggs to a flattened portion of the male’s body before going to find another mate! 

Photo By Kirstie de la Mer



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