Biodiversity & Conservation

Caves and overhangs (deep)


Caves and overhangs (deep)
Distribution map

CR.FCR.Cv recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland Occurs at widely separated locations generally in open coast waters on wave sheltered coasts with moderate tidal flow. Whilst the structural and functional aspects of the biotope are similar across its range, species composition varies.
National importance Scarce

Text page icon Description of biotope

For a full description of this biotope including characterizing species, distribution, survey information and references visit JNCC

Caves and overhanging rock in the circalittoral zone, away from significant influence of strong wave action. This habitat may be colonized by a wide variety of species, with encrusting sponges including some that are seldom seen such as Dercitus bucklandi and Thymosia guernii, anemones Parazoanthus spp. and the cup corals Caryophyllia inornatus, Hoplangia durotrix. In the south-west, Leptopsammia pruvoti may be abundant in restricted areas. (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

The biotopes classification lists the scarlet and gold star coral Balanophyllia regia as characteristic but that coral occurs in shallow (infralittoral) depths and is a feature of overhangs, often exposed to strong wave action, there.

This review can be cited as follows:

Hiscock, K. 2000. Caves and overhangs (deep). Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 01/12/2015]. Available from: <>