Biodiversity & Conservation

Overhangs and caves



Image Keith Hiscock - A well developed overhang community with pendulous polyclinid tunicates. Image width ca 1 m.
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Distribution map

LR.LR.Ov recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats

Marine natural heritage importance

Listed under EC Habitats Directive
National importance Scarce
Habitat Directive feature (Annex 1) Reefs
Submerged or partly submerged sea caves
Large shallow inlets and bays

Biotope importance

No species are identified that use the biotope for shelter or food and are not anyway a part of the biotope.


Crabs (Cancer pagurus) and lobster (Homarus gammarus) are taken from deep recesses at the backs of overhangs often using a metal hook.

Additional information icon Additional information

Overhang habitats are a part of "Reefs" in Annex 1 of the Habitats Directive and also occur in "Shallow Inlets and Bays" and in "Estuaries".

This review can be cited as follows:

Hiscock, K. 2002. Overhangs and caves. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25/11/2015]. Available from: <>