Biodiversity & Conservation

Amphiura filiformis and Echinocardium cordatum in circalittoral clean or slightly muddy sand



Image Keith Hiscock - Amphiura filiformis arms visible in circalittoral muddy sand. Image width ca 30 cm
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Distribution map

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

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

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
Important characterizing Amphiura filiformis A brittlestar
Key functional Echinocardium cordatum Sea potato
Important structural Callianassa subterranea A burrowing mud shrimp


The sensitivity of the biotope is based on the sensitivity of the key species after which the biotope is named, Amphiura filiformis and Echinocardium cordatum. The burrowing mud-shrimp Callianassa subterranea is also an important species within the biotope because its burrowing activities can alter the nature of the sediment through bioturbation and burrows allow a much larger surface area of sediment to become oxygenated, and thus enhance the survival of a considerable variety of small species (Pearson & Rosenberg, 1978).

Additional information

This review can be cited as follows:

Hill, J.M. 2004. Amphiura filiformis and Echinocardium cordatum in circalittoral clean or slightly muddy sand. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 29/11/2015]. Available from: <>