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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

To understand more about what this page is describing, see How to use the classification. See also How to cite.

   Circalittoral fine sand

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt), Variable (18-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very sheltered
Tidal streams Weak (>1 kn), Very weak (negligible)
Substratum Clean fine sands
Zone Circalittoral
Depth Band 10-20 m, 20-30 m, 30-50 m
Other Features

Biotope origin

Derived using data from Various
Faunal group Epifauna/Infauna

Download comparative physical and biological data. The comparative tables enable a rapid comparison of the species composition and principal physical characteristics between a given set of biotopes.

Distribution of habitat SS.SSa.CFiSa Circalittoral fine sand

  • Records used to define the biotope (core records)
  • Other records assigned to this biotope, marked as 'certain'
  • Other records assigned to this biotope, marked as 'uncertain'
  • Predicted extent of the level 3 (for sublittoral rock & deep sea) or 4 (for sublittoral sediment) habitat

Point data based on records in the UK Marine Recorder Snapshot. Predicted habitat extent is from UKSeaMap.


Clean fine sands with less than 5% silt/clay in deeper water, either on the open coast or in tide-swept channels of marine inlets in depths of over 15-20 m. The habitat may also extend offshore and is characterised by a wide range of echinoderms (in some areas including the pea urchin Echinocyamus pusillus), polychaetes and bivalves. This habitat is generally more stable than shallower, infralittoral sands and consequently supports a more diverse community.


No situation data available.

Temporal variation

No temporal data available.

Characterising species

Taxon Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Amphiura filiformis Abundant 41-60%
Asterias rubens Occasional 41-60%
Cerianthus lloydii Frequent 41-60%
Lanice conchilega Occasional 41-60%
Ophiura albida Frequent 41-60%
Pagurus bernhardus Occasional 41-60%
Abra alba Common 21-40%
Chaetozone setosa Common 21-40%
Nephtys Common 21-40%
Nucula nitidosa Frequent 21-40%
Ophiura ophiura Frequent 21-40%
Pecten maximus Occasional 21-40%
Spiophanes bombyx Frequent 21-40%
Virgularia mirabilis Occasional 21-40%

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Not applicable or unknown.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code Habitat name
2015 (15.03) SS.SSa.CFiSa Circalittoral fine sand
2004 (04.05) SS.SSa.CFiSa Circalittoral fine sand
1997 (97.06) Part of SS.CGS Circalittoral gravels and sands
1997 (97.06) SS.CMS Circalittoral muddy sands

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