Biodiversity & Conservation

Brissopsis lyrifera and Amphiura chiajei in circalittoral mud


<i>%Brissopsis lyrifera%</i> and <i>%Amphiura chiajei%</i> in circalittoral mud
Distribution map

SS.SMu.CFiMu.BlyrAchi recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

Marine natural heritage importance

Listed under EC Habitats Directive
UK Biodiversity Action Plan
National importance Not available
Habitat Directive feature (Annex 1) Large shallow inlets and bays

Biotope importance

Amphiura chiajei provides an important link between the benthic and pelagic realms because it is an important component of the diet of many fish and invertebrate predators including dab Limanda limanda, haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus and the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus. These predators do not generally consume the entire brittle star but crop only the arm tips, which are later regenerated.


Nephrops norvegicus is the only species within the biotope that is of any commercial importance. Nephrops fisheries are of major economic importance and the species is fished in biotopes throughout its geographic range, including CMU.BriAchi. This includes both shallow semi-enclosed sea loch areas and offshore grounds in the Irish and North Seas. In British waters the Nephrops fishery has grown rapidly since its inception in the 1950s. Nephrops is now one of the most valuable fisheries in the north-eastern Atlantic (Hughes, 1998(b)). No other species in the biotope are commercially exploited.

Additional information icon Additional information

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This review can be cited as follows:

Budd, G.C. 2004. Brissopsis lyrifera and Amphiura chiajei in circalittoral mud. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 26/11/2015]. Available from: <>