Biodiversity & Conservation

Ophiothrix fragilis and/or Ophiocomina nigra beds on slightly tide-swept circalittoral rock or mixed substrata

CR.MCR.EcCr.CarSp.Bri


MCR.Oph

Image Bernard Picton - Ophiothrix fragilis and/or Ophiocomina nigra beds on slightly tide-swept circalittoral rock or mixed substrata. Image width ca 1 m.
Image copyright information

  • #
Distribution map

CR.MCR.EcCr.CarSp.Bri recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)


  • EC_Habitats

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

The biotope has been recorded widely around Britain and Ireland but appears to be rare or absent along the English North Sea coast south of Northumberland.

Habitat preferences

Temperature range preferences - 5 - 15°C

Water clarity preferences - High clarity / Low turbidity
Medium clarity / Medium turbidity
Low clarity / High turbidity

Limiting Nutrients - Not relevant

Other preferences -

Additional information

  • Living brittlestar beds are widespread and common around Britain and Ireland, but are fairly rare on a global scale. Extensive Ophiothrix spp. beds exist on the French side of the English Channel. Cabioch (1986) describes two dense brittlestar facies (communities) from the Manche area of Normandy:
    • Ophiothrix fragilis and encrusting bryozoans.
    • Encrusting sponges with dense populations of Ophiothrix fragilis.
  • Temporary aggregations of this species have been recorded in the Dutch Oosterschelde Estuary (Hughes, 1998).
  • Shallow-water aggregations of other brittlestar species are also known from the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, the Antarctic, California and Japan.


This review can be cited as follows:

Hill, J.M. 2001. Ophiothrix fragilis and/or Ophiocomina nigra beds on slightly tide-swept circalittoral rock or mixed substrata. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 23/12/2014]. Available from: <http://www.marlin.ac.uk/habitatpreferences.php?habitatid=278&code=2004>