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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.

   Infralittoral mobile clean sand with sparse fauna

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), Very weak (negligible)
Substratum Medium to fine sand
Zone Infralittoral
Depth Band 0-5 m, 5-10 m, 10-20 m
Other Features

Biotope origin

Derived using data from Various
Faunal group Epifauna

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.IFiSa.IMoSa Infralittoral mobile clean sand with sparse fauna

  • 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.


Medium to fine sandy sediment in shallow water, often formed into dunes, on exposed or tide-swept coasts often contains very little infauna due to the mobility of the substratum. Some opportunistic populations of infaunal amphipods may occur, particularly in less mobile examples in conjunction with low numbers of mysids such as Gastrosaccus spinifer, the polychaete Nephtys cirrosa and the isopod Eurydice pulchra. Sand eels Ammodytes sp. may occasionally be observed in association with this biotope (and others). This biotope is more mobile than SS.SSa.IFiSa.NcirBat and may be closely related to LS.LSa.MoSa.BarSa on the shore. Common epifaunal species such as Pagurus bernhardus, Liocarcinus depurator, Carcinus maenas and Asterias rubens may be encountered and are the most conspicuous species present.


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
Ammodytes tobianus 46 61-80%
Pagurus bernhardus 41 81-100%
Pontocrates arenarius 17 1-20%
Urothoe brevicornis 15 1-20%
Gastrosaccus spinifer 13 1-20%
Nephtys cirrosa 11 1-20%
Pleuronectes platessa 6 21-40%
Eurydice pulchra 6 1-20%
Liocarcinus depurator 4 Rare 21-40%
Nephtys 4 1-20%
Ammodytes 3 Frequent 21-40%
Bathyporeia elegans 1 1-20%

Similar biotopes or habitat types

SS.SSa.SSaVS.MoSaVS occurs in reduced salinities but differs in that the sparse fauna of SS.SSa.IFiSa.IMoSa are not tolerant of reduced salinities.

Where sediment disturbance decreases in less exposed or weaker tidal currents, SS.SSa.IFiSa.IMoSa may grade into SS.SSa.IFiSa.NcirBat with an increase in species richness as the environment becomes more stable.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code Habitat name
2015 (15.03) SS.SSa.IFiSa.IMoSa Infralittoral mobile clean sand with sparse fauna
2004 (04.05) SS.SSa.IFiSa.IMoSa Infralittoral mobile clean sand with sparse fauna
1997 (97.06) SS.IGS.FaS.Mob Sparse fauna in infralittoral mobile clean sand

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