Crofter’s Wig (Ascophyllum nodosum ecad makii) is a very rare and interesting little seaweed. It is a form of egg wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum)but is free-living (not attached to anything). It is thought to have first originated from broken fragments of the normal form of egg wrack but in very sheltered conditions grows unattached. It gets it’s name, Crofter’s Wig, from the wig-shaped masses it forms. It prefers the mid-upper tidal zone in very sheltered areas such as the head of some voes where it is not at risk of being washed away by stormy weather.
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It is a Priority Marine Feature (PMF) and a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species (UKBAP). It provides an important habitat for other seashore species such as crabs and molluscs.
So far in Shetland it has only been recorded on the west side of Shetland and is considered globally rare. The Shetland records might represent the northern most extent of this species.