Description of [Flustra foliacea] and [Haliclona oculata] with a rich faunal turf on tide-swept circalittoral mixed substrata
This biotope is typically found on exposed slopes of silty cobble and pebble subject to strong to moderate tidal streams. From afar, large 'finger' growths of the sponge Haliclona oculata occur amongst a rich faunal turf of hydroids and bryozoans with Flustra foliacea prominent. The dense faunal turf growing on the cobbles is composed of the bryozoans F. foliacea, Alcyonidium diaphanum and Crisia eburnea and sporadic occurrences of the hydroids Nemertesia antennina, Hydrallmania falcata, Tubularia larynx, Rhizocaulus verticillatus and Halecium halecinum. Caprellid shrimps may be observed within this faunal turf. The hard substratum frequently has a dense covering of the sponge H. oculata and occasionally Esperiopsis fucorum, while the softer gravely/sand between the cobbles provides a habitat for anemones such as Urticina felina and Cerianthus lloydii. The nudibranch Janolus cristatus may be seen preying on the faunal turf and the fan worm Sabella pavonia is occasionally seen amongst the cobbles. The soft coral Alcyonium digitatum is often attached to the upper faces of more stable cobbles and rocks, while in the crevices between cobbles, the anemone Sagartia elegans, the crab Cancer pagurus, the prawn Pandalus montagui and the amphipod Dyopedos porrectus may be observed. Under-cobble fauna includes terebellid worms and Harmothoe spp. This biotope has been recorded from the Menai Strait, Milford Haven and Morecambe Bay.