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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Ampharete falcata turf with Parvicardium ovale on cohesive muddy sediment near margins of deep stratified seas

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure
Tidal streams Weak (>1 kn)
Substratum Cohesive sandy mud
Zone Circalittoral
Depth Band 50-100 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.SMu.OMu.AfalPova <I>Ampharete falcata</I> turf with <I>Parvicardium ovale</I> on cohesive muddy sediment near margins of deep stratified seas

  • 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 stands of Ampharete falcata tubes which protrude from muddy sediments, appearing as a turf or meadow in localised areas. These areas seem to occur on a crucial point on a depositional gradient between areas of tide-swept mobile sands and quiescent stratifying muds. Dense populations of the small bivalve Parvicardium ovale occur in the superficial sediment. Other infauna in this diverse biotope includes Lumbrineris scopa, Levinsenia sp., Prionospio steenstrupi, Diplocirrus glaucus and Praxillella affinis although a wide variety of other infaunal species may also be found. Both the brittlestars Amphiura filiformis and Amphiura chiajei may be present together with Nephrops norvegicus in higher abundance than the BlyrAchi or AfilEcor biotopes. Substantial populations of mobile epifauna such as Pandalus montagui and smaller fish also occur, together with those that can cling to the tubes, such as Macropodia spp. A similar turf of worm tubes formed by the maldanid polychaete Melinna cristata has been recorded from Northumberland (Buchanan 1963). Nephrops trawling may severely damage this biotope and it is possible that such activity has destroyed examples of this biotope in the Irish Sea (E.I.S. Rees pers. comm. 2002).


No situation data available.

Temporal variation

No temporal data available.

Characterising species

Taxon Typical abundance - SACFOR scale
Scalibregma inflatum Abundant
Amphictene auricoma Common
Lagis koreni Abundant
Ampharete falcata Super abundant
Pandalus montagui
Crangon crangon
Nephrops norvegicus
Macropodia linaresi
Goneplax rhomboides Common
Nuculoma tenuis Common
Mysella bidentata Common
Parvicardium ovale Super abundant
Abra nitida Abundant
Amphiura chiajei Super abundant
Amphiura filiformis Abundant
Brissopsis lyrifera Abundant
Agonus cataphractus
Liparis liparis

Similar biotopes or habitat types

This biotope is closely linked to SMU.AfilNten, which also may support A. falcata in some areas of the Irish Sea.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code
97.06 COS.AmpPar

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