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.
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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

For a list of 2004 characterising species please see the JNCC website.

Species indicative of sensitivity

To assess the sensitivity of the biotope, the sensitivity of component species is reviewed. Those species that are considered to be particularly indicative of the sensitivity of the biotope, and for which research has been undertaken in detail are shown below (see selection criteria). The biology of other component species of the biotope is also taken into account wherever information is known to the researcher.

Community Importance Species name Common Name
Key structural Ophiothrix fragilis Common brittlestar
Important functional Asterias rubens Common starfish
Important characterizing Alcyonium digitatum Dead man's fingers
Important characterizing Urticina felina Dahlia anemone

Explanation

The key structuring species in the biotope are the brittlestars themselves and also another class of echinoderms, the Asteriodea or starfish, that predate upon them and may control abundance where they are present. Sensitivity of the brittlestars are represented by Ophiothrix fragilis, one of the two main bed forming species. The common starfish Asterias rubens, a predator of brittlestars, is commonly found in the biotope.

Additional information


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 24/11/2014]. Available from: <http://www.marlin.ac.uk/habitatreproduction.php?habitatid=278&code=2004>