Brittlestars on faunal and algal encrusted exposed to moderately wave-exposed Atlantic circalittoral rock

Description (English)

This variant is typically found on the upper faces of exposed and moderately wave-exposed circalittoral bedrock, boulders and cobbles subject to moderately strong to weak tidal streams. It is characterised by high densities of brittlestars (predominantly Ophiothrix fragilis, Ophiocomina nigra and Ophiura albida). In fact, they may form such dense beds that the seabed underneath may not be visible. The rocky substratum is usually colonised by species such as encrusting red algae and the white, calcareous tubes of the polychaete Pomatoceros triqueter. Only robust hydroids such as Abietinaria abietina, Alcyonium digitatum and bryozoan crusts such as Parasmittina trispinosa are able to tolerate the significant smothering effect from the dense mat of brittlestars. Other species typically seen include Echinus esculentus, Asterias rubens, Pagurus bernhardus, Anapagurus hyndmanni, Gibbula cineraria, Urticina felina, Pododesmus patelliformis and Ciona intestinalis.
Situation: Shallower than the MC1-2244 variant, kelp park and forest may be found with species such as Laminaria saccharina and Laminaria hyperborea.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code MC12244
Relation to Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Algae Laminaria hyperborea
Algae Laminaria saccharina
Invertebrates Abietinaria abietina
Invertebrates Alcyonium digitatum
Invertebrates Anapagurus hyndmanni
Invertebrates Asterias rubens
Invertebrates Ciona intestinalis
Invertebrates Echinus esculentus
Invertebrates Gibbula cineraria
Invertebrates Ophiocomina nigra
Invertebrates Ophiothrix fragilis
Invertebrates Ophiura albida
Invertebrates Pagurus bernhardus
Invertebrates Parasmittina trispinosa
Invertebrates Pododesmus patelliformis
Invertebrates Pomatoceros triqueter
Invertebrates Urticina felina
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Laminaria hyperborea Algae
Laminaria saccharina Algae
Abietinaria abietina Invertebrates
Alcyonium digitatum Invertebrates
Anapagurus hyndmanni Invertebrates
Asterias rubens Invertebrates
Ciona intestinalis Invertebrates
Echinus esculentus Invertebrates
Gibbula cineraria Invertebrates
Ophiocomina nigra Invertebrates
Ophiothrix fragilis Invertebrates
Ophiura albida Invertebrates
Pagurus bernhardus Invertebrates
Parasmittina trispinosa Invertebrates
Pododesmus patelliformis Invertebrates
Pomatoceros triqueter Invertebrates
Urticina felina Invertebrates

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 2007 (revised descriptions 2012) A4.2144 Brittlestars on faunal and algal encrusted exposed to moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock same
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type Comment
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A4.2144 Brittlestars on faunal and algal encrusted exposed to moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A3.651 Ophiothrix fragilis and/or Ophiocomina nigra beds on slightly tide-swept circalittoral rock or mixed substrata wider
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A3.651 Ophiothrix fragilis and/or Ophiocomina nigra beds on slightly tide-swept circalittoral rock or mixed substrata overlap
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A3.651 Ophiothrix fragilis and/or Ophiocomina nigra beds on slightly tide-swept circalittoral rock or mixed substrata overlap
MNCR BioMar 97.06 (Britain & Ireland) MCR.Bri.Oph Ophiothrix fragilis and/or Ophiocomina nigra beds on slightly tide-swept circalittoral rock or mixed substrata overlap
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