The Salstone

Lat/long The Salstone
50 15.18N
50 15.18N
03 45.39W
03 45.67W
50 15.05N
50 15.02N
03 45.36W
03 45.60W

Location description (1957)
The Salstone. Around this rock an extensive region of soft mud is exposed by low spring tides, with a remarkably rich fauna and flora which doubtless benefit from the shelter afforded by this inland site from the action not only of waves, but also of strong currents. Only a fraction of the species present can be mentioned. The tube-worms Sabella pavonina, Branchiomma vesiculosum, and Myxicola infundibulum are abundant in their respective zones and Notomastus latericeus and Melinna palmata are abundant in the fine mud. The surface of the mud, or much of it, is hidden under extensive clumps of Hymeniacidon perleve and other sponges (e.g. Halichondria bowerbanki, Suberites) and algae such as Ulva. Amongst these growths Phallusia mamillata is distributed, and clumps of various compound ascidians, especially didemnids. Ciona intestinalis and Ascidiella aspersa are abundant on stones, particularly at the south end. Among the encrusting sponges and ascidians the turbellarian Prostheceraeus vittatus occurs in small numbers and Trivia monacha is plentiful. Very large numbers of Cereus pedunculatus form carpets where mud covers an underlying layer of stones to which their bases are attached. Amphitrite johnstoni and Golfingia vulgaris may be dug up. Montagu long ago gave this locality as a special site for Haminoea (=Bulla) hydatis, a mollusc which has been found here on various more recent occasions, sometimes with its spawn. Pleurobranchus membranaceus is also common here, spawning in the summer. The only British specimen of Aplysia fasciata was picked up here in 1949. For some years a wrecked barge produced a profusion of Metridium and other sessile organisms. Large starfish are also sometimes found stranded; Pecten maximus is usual and even Antedon bifida has been taken. Under stones, early in the year, butterfishes, Pholis gunnellus, are to be found curled around their egg masses. There is no evidence that the fauna is in any way affected by possible dilution of the sea water even during wet periods.
Updated information Description updated in 1999
Species List >Asterias rubens
Atrina fragilis
Octopus vulgaris
Ophiothrix fragilis