BIOTIC Species Information for Urticina felina
Researched byAngus Jackson & Dr Keith Hiscock Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byProf. Daphne Fautin
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandFound on all coasts of the British Isles.
Global distributionThe species is boreal-arctic with a possible circumpolar distribution. Found throughout Europe from northern Russia to Biscay but not in the Mediterranean. Records from elsewhere are incomplete and there is considerable confusion in taxonomy.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth rangeDown to at least 100m
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional Information
  • Individuals found further offshore tend to be larger in size.
  • %Urticina eques% is a similar but larger species (up to 30 cm tentacle spread) with longer tentacles and more commonly found offshore and in deeper water to 400 m. This species has fewer or no verrucae and no attached gravel or other particles.
  • Urticina felina is recorded from several estuarine sites including Mucking in Thames estuary and the river Blackwater estuary and so will be subject to variable or low salinities. In the Westerschelde estuary, Braber & Borghouts (1977) found that Urticina (as Tealia) felina penetrated to about the 11ppt Chlorinity (about 20 psu) isohaline at mid tide during average water discharge making it tolerant of reduced salinity conditions.

Substratum preferencesOther species (see additional information)
Large to very large boulders
Small boulders
Crevices / fissures
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Offshore seabed
Strait / sound
Ria / Voe
Biological zoneLower Eulittoral
Sublittoral Fringe
Upper Infralittoral
Lower Infralittoral
Upper Circalittoral
Lower Circalittoral
Wave exposureExtremely Exposed
Very Exposed
Moderately Exposed
Tidal stream strength/Water flowVery Strong (>6 kn)
Strong (3-6 kn)
Moderately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
SalinityVariable (18-40 psu)
Reduced (18-30 psu)
Full (30-40 psu)
Low (<18 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional InformationRasmussen, (1973) records Urticina felina as being very common in banks of Mytilus feeding mostly on gammarids.
Distribution References Hayward et al., 1996, Solé-Cava et al., 1985, Manuel, 1988, Migné & Davoult, 1997(a), Rasmussen, 1973, Picton & Costello, 1998, JNCC, 1999, Moen, 1996, George et al., 1988, Bruce et al., 1963, Braber & Borghouts, 1877,
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