information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Hiatella-bored vertical sublittoral limestone rock



UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification


Moderately exposed vertical and overhanging soft rock (typically chalk), subject to moderately strong to weak tidal streams, bored by the rock-boring mollusc Hiatella arctica. As with other biotopes in the soft rock complex, it is found in areas of high turbidity, where there is poor light penetration. There may be isolated clumps of the hydroid Nemertesia antennina and a sparse bryozoan turf formed by various crisiids, Crisularia plumosa and Bugula flabellate (often being grazed on by the nudibranch Janolus cristatus), Alcyonidium diaphanum, Flustra foliacea and Cellapora pumicosa. A patchy 'carpet' of the brittlestar Ophiothrix fragilis is often recorded along with other echinoderms such as Asterias rubens and Henricia sanguinolenta. Other species present include the colonial ascidians Polyclinum aurantium,Botrylloides leachi, Clavelina lepadiformis, Aplidium punctatum and Botryllus schlosseri, dead mans fingers Alcyonium digitatum and the crab Cancer pagurus. Sponges present include the boring sponge Cliona celata, Halichondria panicea,Myxilla incrustans, Leucosolenia botryoidesand Dysidea fragilis. Occasionally, the foliose red seaweed Delessaria sanguinea may be recorded (JNCC, 2015).

Depth range

0-5 m, 5-10 m, 10-20 m

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Sensitivity reviewHow is sensitivity assessed?



Species indicative of sensitivity


Physical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Chemical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Biological Pressures

No sensitivity data available

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This review can be cited as:

Tillin, H.M. 2016. [Hiatella]-bored vertical sublittoral limestone rock. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 18-06-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 31/03/2016