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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Ampelisca spp., Photis longicaudata and other tube-building amphipods and polychaetes in infralittoral sandy mud

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure
Tidal streams
Substratum Sandy muds.
Zone Infralittoral
Depth Band
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.ISaMu.AmpPlon <I>Ampelisca</I> spp., <I>Photis longicaudata</I> and other tube-building amphipods and polychaetes in infralittoral sandy mud

  • 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.


Sublittoral stable cohesive sandy muds occurring over a wide depth range may support large populations of semi-permanent tube-building amphipods and polychaetes. In particular large numbers of the amphipods Ampelisca spp. and Photis longicaudata may be present along with polychaetes such as Lagis koreni. Other important taxa may include bivalves such as Nucula nitidosa, Chamelea gallina, Abra alba and Mysella bidentata and the echinoderms Echinocardium cordatum and Amphiura brachiata. In some areas polychaetes such as Spiophanes bombyx and Polydora ciliata may also be conspicuously numerous. This community is poorly known, appearing to occur in restricted patches. In some areas it is possible that AmpPlon may develop as a result of moderate organic enrichment. A similar community in mud has also been reported in the Baltic which is characterised by large populations of amphipods such as Ampelisca spp., Corophium spp. and Haploops tubicola (see Petersen 1918; Thorson 1957) and it is not known if SMU.AmpPlon is a UK variant of this biotope.


No situation data available.

Temporal variation

In some areas of the Irish Sea this biotope is reported to be a temporal variant of AalbNuc, SsubNhom and LkorPpel. Some researchers consider these biotopes to be part of a wider muddy sand community which varies temporally depending on changes in sediment deposition and recruitment as was reported in areas of Red Wharf Bay off the Welsh coast (E.I.S. Rees pers. comm. 2002)

Characterising species

Characterising species data not applicable.

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Similar to AmpPlon but differs in the variety and abundance of amphipods and is found in muddier sediments in sheltered sealochs such as Strangford Lough. It is possible that these two biotopes are actually part of a wider biotope which contains more than one entity depending on its geographic location and prevailing environmental conditions.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code
97.06 LMS.SMu.HedMac (part)

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