Description of [Modiolus modiolus] beds with fine hydroids and large solitary ascidians on very sheltered circalittoral mixed substrata
Beds or scattered clumps of Modiolus modiolus in generally sheltered conditions with only slight tidal movement. Typically occurs in sealochs and the Shetland voes. Brittlestars Ophiothrix fragilis and Ophiocomina nigra, as well as Ophiopholis aculeata are often frequent, sometimes forming a dense bed as described in A5.445. The queen scallop Aequipecten opercularis is often present in moderate abundances. Large solitary ascidians (Ascidiella aspersa, Corella parallelogramma, Dendrodoa grossularia) and fine hydroids (Kirchenpaueria pinnata) are present attached to the mussel shells. Decapods such as hermit crabs (Pagurus bernhardus) and spider crabs (Hyas araneus) are typically present. Coralline algal crusts may be found on the mussel shells, with some red seaweeds in shallower water such as Phycodrys rubens. Little information on the infaunal component is given here although it is likely that it is very rich and may highlight more subtle differences in the Modiolus biotopes.