Biodiversity & Conservation

Urticina felina on sand-affected circalittoral rock



Image Keith Hiscock - Urticina felina and Ciocalypta penicillus on sand-covered circalittoral rock (MCR.Urt.Cio). Image width ca 60 cm.
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Distribution map

CR.MCR.EcCr.UrtScr 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.

Species found especially in this biotope

  • Adreus fascicularis

Rare of scarce species associated with this biotope

Community Importance Species name Common Name
Important characterizing Nemertesia ramosa A hydroid
Important other Alcyonium digitatum Dead man's fingers
Important characterizing Urticina felina Dahlia anemone
Important other Pomatoceros triqueter Keel worm
Important other Balanus crenatus An acorn barnacle
Important structural Pentapora fascialis Ross
Important structural Flustra foliacea Hornwrack


A range of species may be found on sand covered rocks depending most likely on degree of scour and geographical location. Ciocalypta penicillus, whilst characteristic of the biotope researched, has little information on its sensitivity and the conclusions of research rely mainly on widely distributed species such as the dahlia anemone Urticina felina, Nemertesia hydroids, dead men's fingers Alcyonium digitatum, bryozoans (Flustra foliacea and Pentapora fascialis) and keel worms Pomatoceros triqueter. Pentapora fascialis and Flustra foliacea provide a habitat for the species and are therefore described as 'Important structural'. Other species are important characterizing as the biotope might not be that biotope without them (or without Nemertesia antennina represented by Nemertesia ramosa).

Additional information

Rocky substratum biotopes covered or partly covered by sand occur at locations all around Britain and Ireland and share many characteristic species with MCR.Urt.Cio. However, the presence of the sponge Ciocalypta penicillus, a southern species, means that this biotope is restricted to southern England, Wales and Ireland. It is believed that the sponge Adreus fascicularis is found only in this biotope.

This review can be cited as follows:

Hiscock, K. 2002. Urticina felina on sand-affected circalittoral rock. 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: <>