EUNIS habitat classification 2017 > M - Marine benthic habitats > MA1 - Littoral rock > MA12 - Atlantic littoral rock > MA127 - Communities of Atlantic littoral caves and overhangs > MA1279 - Sparse fauna (barnacles and spirorbids) on sand/pebble-scoured rock in littoral caves

Sparse fauna (barnacles and spirorbids) on sand/pebble-scoured rock in littoral caves

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code MA1279
Relation to Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)

Description (English)

Upper to lower shore sand- or pebble-scoured cave walls characterised by an impoverished faunal assemblage which may include bryozoan crusts, scattered sponges Halichondria panicea, barnacles such as Semibalanus balanoides or often large Balanus crenatus and the limpet Patella vulgata. The isopod Ligia oceanica may seek refuge in crevices in the rock, and due to the decreased effect of desiccation in these damp caves, other species such as the anemone Actinia equina and spirorbid polychaetes are able to extend further up the shore than normally found on open rock. The lower section of the wall which is subject to greatest scour may be characterised by a band of Pomatoceros triqueter and spirorbid tube-forming polychaetes. In wave sheltered conditions, this biotope may extend to the cave ceiling. The rear of caves on the lower shore may support only sparse fauna consisting of spirorbid polychaetes and barnacles such as Chthamalus montagui with scattered Pomatoceros sp., scattered bryozoan and coralline crusts and in the south-west, occasional Sabellaria alveolata. Shade-tolerant red algae such as Lomentaria articulata may occasionally occur. Due to the low species abundance in this biotope, there may be a variation from cave to cave, depending on local conditions.
Situation: This biotope is found in caves between the barren (of macro-fauna or flora) or very species poor zone (unit MA1-27A) and the wave-surged, more densely populated zone (MA1-278). On the walls above the scour and near the cave entrance the community may grade into a red algal dominated community (unit MA1-274).

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Algae Lomentaria articulata
Invertebrates Actinia equina
Invertebrates Balanus crenatus
Invertebrates Chthamalus montagui
Invertebrates Halichondria panicea
Invertebrates Ligia oceanica
Invertebrates Patella vulgata
Invertebrates Pomatoceros triqueter
Invertebrates Sabellaria alveolata
Invertebrates Semibalanus balanoides
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Lomentaria articulata Algae
Actinia equina Invertebrates
Balanus crenatus Invertebrates
Chthamalus montagui Invertebrates
Halichondria panicea Invertebrates
Ligia oceanica Invertebrates
Patella vulgata Invertebrates
Pomatoceros triqueter Invertebrates
Sabellaria alveolata Invertebrates
Semibalanus balanoides Invertebrates

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 2007 (revised descriptions 2012) A1.449 Sparse fauna (barnacles and spirorbids) on sand/pebble-scoured rock in littoral caves same
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type Comment
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A1.449 Sparse fauna (barnacles and spirorbids) on sand/pebble-scoured rock in littoral caves same
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