Biodiversity & Conservation

Virgularia mirabilis and Ophiura spp. on circalittoral sandy or shelly mud



Image Bernard Picton - Virgularia mirabilis, Cerianthus lloydii with Ophiocomina nigra on shelly muddy gravel. Image width ca XX cm.
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Distribution map

SS.CMS._.VirOph recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

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

  • Virgularia mirabilis
Community Importance Species name Common Name
Important characterizing Virgularia mirabilis A sea pen
Important characterizing Amphiura filiformis A brittlestar
Important other Pecten maximus Great scallop


Virgularia mirabilis is the main important characterizing species, giving the name to the biotope. Amphiura filiformis is representative of brittlestars which are also important characterizing species associated with this biotope. Virgularia mirabilis and Amphiura filiformis are both burrowing species and can be important structurally. Pecten maximus is an important commercial species associated with this biotope.

Additional information

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This review can be cited as follows:

Hill, J.M. & Wilson, E. 2004. Virgularia mirabilis and Ophiura spp. on circalittoral sandy or shelly mud. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 30/11/2015]. Available from: <>