Apr 17
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Spotlight On: Rocky Shores, UK

One of the great things about living in the UK is that as an island nation we are never too far away from the coast! What is even better is that we fortunate enough to have a huge coastline which is as diverse as the species that inhabit it. Though less popular with tourists compared to a sandy beaches, rocky shores are rich in biodiversity and just as accessible. Rocky coasts are dynamic environments, always changing according to the weather and the tide.


A snapshot of the large range of species of the rocky shore

One wave changes everything – species have to be able to adapt

The species that live there have to be able to cope with these ever changing conditions and vary dramatically with depending on what past of the rocky coast they are found in. In the permanently submerged areas (called the sublittoral zone) several species of fish and seaweeds can be found if you’re brave enough to go for a snorkel… you may even be lucky enough to see something a bit bigger.

A common octopus – not actually a common site in Britain

The common lobster can be found in shallows of rocky shores

If the sea is a bit too cold for you the UK’s rocky coasts have an abundance of rock pools to explore. What you will actually find in these pools depends on how close to the sea they are. Pools that are further away and more isolated from the sea are generally a harsher place for species to live. That said you’ll always find something – there are usually several anemones and smaller crustacens in most rock pools.

Rock pools provide habitats for numerous species

A common sight in many rock pools across the UK – the aptly named common prawn

Walking on the cliff tops in many parts of the UK will quickly introduce you to some breathtaking scenery, if you are lucky you may see a dolphin or a whale that has come in. Some of the UK’s best bird watching can be found on the cliffs high up above the sea puffins, gannets, petrels and a host of other birds attract budding ornithologists from across the world.

Sea cliff provide a habitat for numerous bird species

Britain’s most distinctive sea bird? Often seen on rocky cliffs in breeding season

To find out more about the rocky shore head over to our new rocky shore habitat page.

George Bradford, ARKive Media Researcher

Aug 3
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ARKive’s Top Ten Beautiful Habitats

Have you ever looked out of your kitchen window and wish you saw snow-capped mountains, a lush woodland or even an ocean view? Only a privileged few can enjoy such sought after sights from their homes but you might be interested to learn that views like these are the everyday norm for many species around the world.

We’ve searched the ARKive collection high and low to come up with our Top Ten list of amazing habitats and after seeing where these species call home, you might find yourself house-hunting soon!

Mighty mountains

Photo of brown bears in Russian habitat

Mountain landscapes, especially snow-capped mountain landscapes, are prized views and are highly sought after real estate. The brown bears in this picture have quite the daily morning view while foraging for breakfast in Russia.

No rainy days here

Sand dune habitat

Some might find the harsh heat and unyielding desert sun an inhospitable place to call home. However when you consider the lovely, vast open spaces, the endless sunny days and spectacular sunrises and sunsets, it’s easy to see why species such as the Arabian oryx call it home.

An underwater rainbow

Netfin grouper in coral reef habitat

Few underwater habitats rival the beauty of reefs. With strikingly colorful corals to schools of silvery fish swimming by, corals might just win the award of top neighborhood on our list.

Sledding at sunset

Photo of emperor penguins tobogganing across landscape

Another underappreciated habitat, polar areas host some of the world’s most fantastic sunrises and sunsets. Plus, like the emperor penguins, the temperatures require cuddling to stay warm which could be a nice perk!

A different kind of high-rise

Avenue of Grandidier's baobab trees

Grandidier’s baobab create an awe-worthy landscape themselves with their massive cylindrical trunks topped with leafy crowns. Various species in Madagascar, such as lemurs, are quick to take advantage of the lovely habitat provided by Grandidier’s baobab.

Beach bum

 Photo of female leatherback turtle at nesting site on beach

An ocean view is the brass ring of luxury homes yet the leatherback turtles can have this view whenever it wants and can come to shore up to ten times per season to lay a clutch of eggs. Talk about an enviable nursery.

Making homes in meadows

 Cattle egret in meadow habitat

Rolling meadows full of vibrant and colorful flowers is a favorite of the cattle egret and make for gorgeous habitat to boot. Although, this picture of a wildcat comes in at a close second for its lovely, open field and shades of green.

High altitude home

Photo of alpine marmot in habitat

A room with a view! The alpine marmot is a high altitude species seeking mountainous terrain with ample vegetation. It seems the marmot could see for miles from this perch.

Open water wonderland 

Photo of a pod of orcas in habitat

Wide open spaces can be hard to come by on land but the ocean is full of terrific open seas with breathtaking backdrops. Take these orcas, for instance, that can be found gliding through the oceans of the Pacific Northwest down to the waters of the equator and beyond.

Meet the neighbors

Barbary macaques in typical habitat, with Straits of Gibraltar in background

Although species are likely to be found in the beautiful habitats listed above, there are quite a large number of species that make their homes in places very familiar to humans. Tourists may find the view of the Straits of Gibraltar to be awe-inspiring; however Barbary macaques have staked their fair share of the landscape.

Now that you’ve seen our picks for the most beautiful habitats on ARKive, where would you choose to live? Can you find other stunning landscapes on ARKive? Share them with us!

Liana Vitali, ARKive Science, Education and Outreach Officer, Wildscreen USA


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