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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

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   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

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 Corophium crassicorne with other tube building amphipods such as Ampelisca spp. also common. Other taxa include typical shallow sand fauna such as Spiophanes bombyx, Urothoe elegans, Bathyporeia spp. along with various polychaetes including Exogone 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 Laminaria saccharina may be present. As many of the sites featuring this biotope are situated near to fish farms it is possible that it may have developed as the result of moderate nutrient enrichment. The distribution of this biotope is poorly known and like the muddier SMU.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
Nemertea 2 Common 61-80 %
Polychaeta 15 Common 41-60 %
Anaitides mucosa 1 41-60 %
Exogone hebes 4 Common 41-60 %
Scoloplos armiger 1 41-60 %
Polydora ciliata 3 Abundant 21-40 %
Pygospio elegans 2 Frequent 41-60 %
Spio filicornis 3 Frequent 41-60 %
Spiophanes bombyx 5 81-100 %
Capitomastus minimus 2 41-60 %
Arenicola marina 19 Occasional 81-100 %
Lanice conchilega 6 Frequent 41-60 %
Urothoe elegans 3 61-80 %
Urothoe marina 3 Common 41-60 %
Phoxocephalus holbolli 2 Frequent 41-60 %
Ampelisca brevicornis 2 Common 41-60 %
Bathyporeia elegans 1 Common 21-40 %
Bathyporeia guilliamsoniana 2 Common 21-40 %
Corophium crassicorne 48 Common 81-100 %
Pagurus bernhardus 6 Occasional 41-60 %
Liocarcinus depurator 3 Rare 41-60 %
Ensis 3 21-40 %
Ensis arcuatus 2 Common 21-40 %
Cochlodesma praetenue 3 61-80 %
Asterias rubens 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Echinocardium cordatum 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Pleuronectidae 4 Occasional 21-40 %
Nitophyllum punctatum 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Polysiphonia 1 Rare 21-40 %
Polysiphonia elongata 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Eudesme virescens 2 Occasional 21-40 %
Desmarestia aculeata 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Desmarestia viridis 4 Occasional 41-60 %
Chorda filum 9 Frequent 41-60 %
Laminaria saccharina 12 Occasional 61-80 %
Ulva 1 Occasional 21-40 %

Similar biotopes or habitat types

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

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