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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

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   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

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 15-20m. 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
Virgularia mirabilis Occasional 21-40 %
Cerianthus lloydii Frequent 41-60 %
Nephtys Common 21-40 %
Spiophanes bombyx Frequent 21-40 %
Chaetozone setosa Common 21-40 %
Lanice conchilega Occasional 41-60 %
Pagurus bernhardus Occasional 41-60 %
Nucula nitidosa Frequent 21-40 %
Pecten maximus Occasional 21-40 %
Abra alba Common 21-40 %
Asterias rubens Occasional 41-60 %
Amphiura filiformis Abundant 41-60 %
Ophiura albida Frequent 41-60 %
Ophiura ophiura Frequent 21-40 %

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Not applicable or unknown.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code
97.06 CMS

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