Biodiversity & Conservation

Urticina felina on sand-affected circalittoral rock



Image Keith Hiscock - Urticina felina and Ciocalypta penicillus on sand-covered circalittoral rock (MCR.Urt.Cio). Image width ca 60 cm.
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Distribution map

CR.MCR.ByH.Urt 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 Recorded from a few locations in south-west Britain as far north as the Sarns in west Wales with isolated records on the west and east coast of Ireland. Probably more widely occurring than indicated.
National importance Not available

Text page icon Description of biotope

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

Urticina felina frequently occurs on rocks at the sand-rock interface where scour levels are high and few other species seem to be able to colonise. This biotope is only occasionally recorded as a separate entity. More often the Urticina are included as part of whatever biotope occurs on the nearby hard substrata. These neighbouring biotopes vary considerably but often include other scour-tolerant species. Most data has been assigned to MCR.Urt.Urt and MCR.Urt.Cio. The biotope research presented below is based on MCR.Urt.Cio, the description of which follows.

Sand-covered low-lying rock with some scouring effect which has dense Urticina felina with Ciocalypta penicillus attached to the underlying rock. Polymastia spp., particularly Polymastia mamillaris and sometimes Polymastia agglutinans are also present. Has links with the ephemeral hydroid (MCR.Flu.SerHyd) and Pomatoceros and bryozoan crust biotopes (MCR.PomByC) and can occur adjacent to them. Not regularly recorded as a separate entity but is often recognizable in this habitat where rock and coarse sediment interface. (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 sub-biotope MCR.Urt.Cio is a conspicuous and easily recognized entity occurring widely in south west Britain.

This review can be cited as follows:

Hiscock, K. 2002. Urticina felina on sand-affected circalittoral rock. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 27/11/2015]. Available from: <>