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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.

   Semi-permanent tube-building amphipods and polychaetes in sublittoral sand

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Moderately exposed, Sheltered
Tidal streams Weak (>1 kn), Very weak (negligible)
Substratum Medium to very fine muddy sand
Zone Infralittoral
Depth Band 0-5 m, 5-10 m, 10-20 m
Other Features Sand scour

Biotope origin

Derived using data from Various
Faunal group Infauna

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.TbAmPo Semi-permanent tube-building amphipods and polychaetes in sublittoral 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.


Sublittoral marine sand in moderately exposed or sheltered inlets and voes in shallow water may support large populations of semi-permanent tube-building amphipods and polychaetes. Typically dominated by Crassicorophium crassicorne with other tube building amphipods such as Ampelisca spp. also being common. Other taxa include typical shallow sand fauna such as Spiophanes bombyx, Urothoe elegans, Bathyporeia spp. along with various polychaetes including Parexogone hebes, and Lanice conchilega. Polydora ciliata may also be abundant in some areas. At the sediment surface, Arenicola marina worm casts may be visible and occasional seaweeds such as Saccharina latissima may be present. As many of the sites featuring this biotope are situated near fish farms, it is possible that it may have developed as the result of moderate nutrient enrichment, which may lead the biotope to transition into an organically enriched variant, related to SS.SMx.CMx.KurThyMx. The distribution of this biotope is poorly known and like the muddier SS.SMu.ISaMu.AmpPlon, to which it is related, appears to have a patchy distribution.


No situation data available.

Temporal variation

It is possible that this biotope is a temporal or spatial variant of other more stable biotopes resulting from localised changes to sediment stability and organic status.

Characterising species

Taxon Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%) Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Crassicorophium crassicorne 48 Common 81-100%
Arenicola marina 19 Occasional 81-100%
Polychaeta 15 Common 41-60%
Saccharina latissima 12 Occasional 61-80%
Chorda filum 9 Frequent 41-60%
Lanice conchilega 6 Frequent 41-60%
Pagurus bernhardus 6 Occasional 41-60%
Spiophanes bombyx 5 81-100%
Pleuronectidae 4 Occasional 21-40%
Desmarestia viridis 4 Occasional 41-60%
Parexogone hebes 4 Common 41-60%
Cochlodesma praetenue 3 61-80%
Ensis 3 21-40%
Liocarcinus depurator 3 Rare 41-60%
Polydora ciliata 3 Abundant 21-40%
Spio filicornis 3 Frequent 41-60%
Urothoe elegans 3 61-80%
Urothoe marina 3 Common 41-60%
Ampelisca brevicornis 2 Common 41-60%
Bathyporeia guilliamsoniana 2 Common 21-40%
Capitella minima 2 41-60%
Ensis magnus 2 Common 21-40%
Eudesme virescens 2 Occasional 21-40%
Nemertea 2 Common 61-80%
Phoxocephalus holbolli 2 Frequent 41-60%
Pygospio elegans 2 Frequent 41-60%
Phyllodoce mucosa 1 41-60%
Asterias rubens 1 Occasional 21-40%
Bathyporeia elegans 1 Common 21-40%
Desmarestia aculeata 1 Occasional 21-40%
Echinocardium cordatum 1 Occasional 21-40%
Nitophyllum punctatum 1 Occasional 21-40%
Polysiphonia 1 Rare 21-40%
Carradoriella elongata 1 Occasional 21-40%
Scoloplos armiger 1 41-60%
Ulva 1 Occasional 21-40%

Similar biotopes or habitat types

SS.SMu.ISaMu.AmpPlon occurs on muddier sediment than SS.SSa.IFiSa.TbAmPo and can be distinguished by the importance of Photis longicaudata in the muddier biotope.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code Habitat name
2015 (15.03) SS.SSa.IFiSa.TbAmPo Semi-permanent tube-building amphipods and polychaetes in sublittoral sand
2004 (04.05) SS.SSa.IFiSa.TbAmPo Semi-permanent tube-building amphipods and polychaetes in sublittoral sand
1997 (97.06) Part of SS.IMU.MarMu.TubeAP Semi-permanent tube-building amphipods and polychaetes in sublittoral mud or muddy sand

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