JNCC is a statutory adviser to UK Government and devolved administrations
  Home  >  Marine  >  Marine Habitats  >  Habitat  >  Biotope classification


SS.SMu.CSaMu.VirOphPmax
Virgularia mirabilis and Ophiura spp. with Pecten maximus on circalittoral sandy or shelly mud

Full Hierarchy  >>  SS >>  SS.SMu >>  SS.SMu.CSaMu >>  SS.SMu.CSaMu.VirOphPmax

Habitat (physical) description

Distribution

 Salinity: Full (30-35 ppt) 
 Wave exposure: Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very sheltered 
 Tidal streams: Weak (>1 kn), Very weak (negligible) 
 Substratum: Sandy mud; shelly and gravelly mud 
 Zone: Circalittoral 
 Depth Band: 5-10 m, 10-20 m, 20-30 m 
 Other Features:  

Download comparative physical and biological data. The comparative tables enable a rapid comparison of the species composition and principal physical characteristics between a given set of biotopes.

Previous code

This biotope occurred in previous versions of the classification as:
CMS.VirOph - Version: 97.06

Distribution of habitat SS.SMu.CSaMu.VirOphPmax  Virgularia mirabilis and Ophiura spp. with Pecten maximus on circalittoral sandy or shelly mud
Distribution of habitat SS.SMu.CSaMu.VirOphPmax Virgularia mirabilis and Ophiura spp. with Pecten maximus on circalittoral sandy or shelly mud, based on records on the UK Marine Recorder database and EUSeaMap. Red dots represent records on which the biotope is based. Blue dots show other certain records, black dots show records tentatively assigned to this biotope. Yellow areas show level 2 and 3 sublittoral and deep-sea habitats prediced by EUSeaMap within UK waters.

Biotope description

Circalittoral fine sandy mud may contain Virgularia mirabilis and Ophiura spp. A variety of species may occur, and species composition at a particular site may relate, to some extent, to the proportions of the major sediment size fractions. Several species are common to most sites including Virgularia mirabilis which is present in moderate numbers, Ophiura albida and Ophiura ophiura which are often quite common, and Pecten maximus which is usually only present in low numbers. Virgularia mirabilis is usually accompanied by occasional Cerianthus lloydii, Liocarcinus depurator and Pagurus bernhardus. Amphiura chiajei and Amphiura filiformis may occur in some examples of this biotope. Polychaetes and bivalves are generally the main components of the infauna, although the nemerteans, Edwardsia claparedii, Phoronis muelleri and Labidoplax buski may also be widespread. Of the polychaetes Goniada maculata, Nephtys incisa, Minuspio cirrifera, Chaetozone setosa, Notomastus latericeus and Owenia fusiformis are often the most widespread species whilst Myrtea spinifera, Lucinoma borealis, Mysella bidentata, Abra alba and Corbula gibba are typical bivalves in this biotope. This biotope is primarily identified on the basis of its epifauna and may be an epibiotic overlay over other closely related biotopes such as SpnMeg, AfilMysAnit and AfilNten.

Situation

Such sediments are very common in sealochs, often occurring shallower than the finest mud or in somewhat more exposed parts of the lochs.

Temporal variation

No temporal data available.

Similar biotopes

SS.SMu.CFiMu.SpnMegSpnMeg is found on finer muddier sediment and may be characterised by frequent Nephrops norvegicus and other megafaunal species.
SS.SMu.CSaMu.VirOphPmax.HAsVirOphPmax.HAs Greater quantities of stones and shells on the surface give rise to more sessile epibenthic species and distinguish this sub biotope.

Characterising Species

Taxa Frequency Typical Abundance % Contribution to similarity Abundance (no.2)
Virgularia mirabilis F 24
Cerianthus lloydii O 11
Chaetopterus variopedatus O 1
Arenicola marina O 2
Terebellidae O 1
Lanice conchilega O 2
Pagurus bernhardus O 7
Liocarcinus depurator O 6
Turritella communis O 3
Pecten maximus O 6
Asterias rubens O 11
Amphiura chiajei C 1
Amphiura filiformis C 2
Ophiura albida F 5
Ophiura ophiura F 4
Echinus esculentus R 1

Example photographs of biotope

No characteristic photos currently available. If you are able to provide a photograph of this biotope please contact .


Version 15.03 of the classification adds a deep-sea section to version 04.05; therefore superseding version 04.05, 97.06 and 03.02.

This online classification should be cited as:

JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed]. Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification

Information from the shallower section (up to sublittoral sediment, taken from Version 04.05) be cited as the report accompanying Version 04.05, as follows:

CONNOR, D.W., J.H. ALLEN, N.GOLDING, K.L.HOWELL, L.M. LIEBERKNECHT, K.O. NORTHEN AND J.B. REKER (2004) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 04.05. In: JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed].
Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification
ISBN 1 861 07561 8


Information from the deep-sea section (added in March 2015) should be cited as the report accompanying the deep-sea section, as follows:

PARRY, M.E.V., K.L. HOWELL, B.E. NARAYANASWAMY, B.J. BETT, D.O.B. JONES, D.J. HUGHES, N. PIECHAUD, T.D. NICKELL, H. ELLWOOD, N. ASKEW, C. JENKINS and E. MANCA (2015) A Deep-sea Section for the Marine Habitat Classification of Britain and Ireland. JNCC report 530. In: JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed].
Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification
ISSN 0963 8901