Biodiversity & Conservation

Amphiura filiformis and Echinocardium cordatum in circalittoral clean or slightly muddy sand



Image Keith Hiscock - Amphiura filiformis arms visible in circalittoral muddy sand. Image width ca 30 cm
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Distribution map

SS.SMu.CSaMu.AfilMysAnit recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland The biotope is widespread around the British Isles, having been recorded from a number of Scottish sea lochs, the northern Irish Sea, the central and southern North Sea and the Isles of Scilly.
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

Medium to fine clean / muddy (clayey) sand off shallow wave- exposed coasts can be characterized by Amphiura filiformis and Echinocardium cordatum. This community occurs in muddy sands and deeper water (Hiscock, 1984; Picton et al., 1994) and may be related to the 'off-shore muddy sand association' described by other workers (Jones, 1951; Mackie, 1990). This community is also characterized by Pholoe sp., Nephtys hombergii, Nucula nitidosa, Callianassa subterranea and Eudorella truncatula (e.g. Kunitzer et al., 1992). Virgularia mirabilis, Cerianthus lloydii and Chaetopterus variopedatus may be other conspicuous surface features but they do not occur in high numbers in this biotope. Deeper, more muddy sediments may give rise to CMS.AbrNucCor. In areas subject to benthic fisheries disturbance, Arctica islandica (if present) may show scars on their shells (Klein & Witbaard, 1993). (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. 2004. Amphiura filiformis and Echinocardium cordatum in circalittoral clean or slightly muddy sand. 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: <>