Biodiversity & Conservation

Ophiothrix fragilis and/or Ophiocomina nigra beds on slightly tide-swept circalittoral rock or mixed substrata

CR.MCR.EcCr.CarSp.Bri


MCR.Oph

Image Bernard Picton - Ophiothrix fragilis and/or Ophiocomina nigra beds on slightly tide-swept circalittoral rock or mixed substrata. Image width ca 1 m.
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Distribution map

CR.MCR.EcCr.CarSp.Bri 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 The biotope has been recorded widely around Britain and Ireland but appears to be rare or absent along the English North Sea coast south of Northumberland.
National importance Widespread

Text page icon Description of biotope

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

Moderately exposed or sheltered slightly tide-swept rock or mixed substrata with dense brittlestar beds, usually dominated by Ophiothrix fragilis but often with Ophiocomina nigra amongst them. At some sites O. nigra was found in larger numbers at some sites particularly in deeper water than the main Ophiothrix bed. Brittle star beds tend to be rather species-poor with coralline crusts, Pomatoceros triqueter, Bolocera tuediae, Urticina felina, Urticina eques, occasional Metridium senile, a few hydroids such as Abietinaria abietina and echinoderms such as Luidia ciliaris and Crossaster papposus fairly typical of the biotope. Alcyonium digitatum may be present, especially on protruding rocks. In the far north of Britain (Shetland, NW Scotland) and part of Ireland Ophiopholis aculeata often replaces Ophiothrix as the dominant brittlestar occurring in dense aggregations (MCR.Oph.Oacu). (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information


This review can be cited as follows:

Hill, J.M. 2001. Ophiothrix fragilis and/or Ophiocomina nigra beds on slightly tide-swept circalittoral rock or mixed substrata. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 30/08/2014]. Available from: <http://www.marlin.ac.uk/habitatsbasicinfo.php?habitatid=278&code=2004>