Beaded Sea Anemone (species: Heteractis aurora) in Lizard Island area: all known taxa (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Heteractis aurora
Beaded Sea Anemone

©Anne Hoggett: Heteractis aurora about 160 mm diameter in coral crevice at Big Vicki's Reef, Lizard Island. Occupied by two anemonefishes (Amphiprion sp), the larger only about 2 cm long.

©Anne Hoggett: Distinctive string-of-beads tentacles of Heteractis aurora, Big Vicki's Reef, Lizard Island

©Anne Hoggett: Beaded Sea Anemone (with Amphiprion chrysopterus) at Cod Hole near Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Cnidaria
Class Hexacorallia
Order Actiniaria
Family Heteractidae
Genus Heteractis
Species Heteractis aurora



Distinguishing features

Tentacles distinctive, up to 50 mm long with numerous swellings. Oral disc lies flat on soft sediment, visible due to sparse tentacles. Column is always buried in sediment.


  • Up to 25 cm (diameter)



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island: Uncommon in the Lizard Island area


Entire animal capable of retracting completely into sediment if suitably anchored.

Anemonefishes known from Lizard Island that associate with this species are Amphiprion akindynos and Amphiprion chrysopterus

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Fautin, D.G. and G.R. Allen (1992). Field guide to anemonefishes and their host sea anemones Western Australian Museum, Perth, WA.

Other references

  • Elliott, J.K. and R.N. Mariscal (1996). Ontogenetic and interspecific variation in the protection of anemonefishes from sea anemones. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 208: 52-72. LIRS catalog number 1662.
  • Elliott, J.K., J.M. Elliott and R.N. Mariscal (1995). Host selection, location, and association behaviours of anemonefishes in field settlement experiments, Marine Biology, 122: 377-389. LIRS catalog number 700.
  • View all references