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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Dense Lanice conchilega and other polychaetes in tide-swept infralittoral sand and mixed gravelly sand

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Exposed, Moderately exposed, Sheltered
Tidal streams Strong (3-6 kn), Moderately strong (1-3 kn), Weak (>1 kn), Very weak (negligible)
Substratum Medium to very fine gravelly sand
Zone Infralittoral
Depth Band 0-5 m, 5-10 m, 10-20 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.SCS.ICS.SLan Dense <I>Lanice conchilega</I> and other polychaetes in tide-swept infralittoral sand and mixed gravelly 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.


Dense beds of Lanice conchilega occur in coarse to medium fine gravelly sand in the shallow sublittoral, where there are strong tidal streams or wave action. Several other species of polychaete also occur as infauna e.g. Spiophanes bombyx, Scoloplos armiger, Chaetozone setosa and Magelona mirabilis. Lanice beds are found in a wide range of habitats including muddier mixed sediment. The dense Lanice biotope (LGS.Lan) on certain lower shores may be a littoral extension of the current biotope. The presence of L. conchilega in high numbersmay, over time, stabilise the sediment to the extent where a more diverse community may develop (Wood, 1987). Possibly as a result of this, there is a high level of variation with regard the infauna found in SCS.SLan. It is likely that a number of sub-biotopes may subsequently be identified for this biotope. Offshore from the Wash and the North Norfolk coast Lanice beds are often found intermixed with Sabellaria spinulosa beds in muddier mixed sediment, particularly in the channels between the shallow sandbanks, which are so prevalent in this area (IECS, 1995; NRA, 1995). It is possible that the presence of Lanice has stabilised the habitat sufficiently to allow the deposition of finer material, which has subsequently assisted the development of S. spinulosa. It may be more accurate to define SLan as an epibiotic biotope which overlays a variety of infaunal biotopes (e.g. NcirBat in finer sands and AalbNuc or FfabMag in slightly muddier areas).


No situation data available.

Temporal variation

No temporal data available.

Characterising species

Taxon Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%) Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Eteone longa 1 41-60 %
Anaitides maculata 1 21-40 %
Eumida bahusiensis 1 Common 21-40 %
Nephtys 1 Abundant 21-40 %
Nephtys cirrosa 3 Common 21-40 %
Scoloplos armiger 4 Abundant 61-80 %
Spiophanes bombyx 20 Common 61-80 %
Magelona mirabilis 3 Frequent 41-60 %
Chaetozone setosa 7 Abundant 41-60 %
Arenicola marina 1 Frequent 21-40 %
Lanice conchilega 34 Abundant 81-100 %
Lanice conchilega 63 Abundant 81-100 %
Bathyporeia pelagica 1 Frequent 21-40 %
Diastylis bradyi 1 Frequent 21-40 %
Pagurus bernhardus 2 Occasional 41-60 %
Liocarcinus depurator 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Carcinus maenas 6 Occasional 21-40 %
Ensis 3 Frequent 1-20 %
Abra alba 3 Common 41-60 %
Asterias rubens 5 Occasional 41-60 %
Echinocardium cordatum 2 Occasional 21-40 %
Pomatoschistus minutus 1 Frequent 21-40 %
Chorda filum 1 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 IGS.FaS.Lcon

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