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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 fine sand

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), Weak (>1 kn), Very weak (negligible)
Substratum Medium to very 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/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 Infralittoral fine 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.


Clean sands which occur in shallow water, either on the open coast or in tide-swept channels of marine inlets. The habitat typically lacks a significant seaweed component and is characterised by robust fauna, particularly amphipods (Bathyporeia) and robust polychaetes including Nephtys cirrosa and Lanice conchilega.


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
Nephtys cirrosa 31 Common 41-60%
Pagurus bernhardus 23 Rare 61-80%
Lanice conchilega 13 Occasional 41-60%
Bathyporeia elegans 11 Frequent 21-40%
Hydrallmania falcata 10 Occasional 41-60%
Magelona mirabilis 9 Frequent 21-40%
Asterias rubens 5 Occasional 21-40%
Alcyonidium diaphanum 4 Occasional 21-40%
Bathyporeia guilliamsoniana 4 Frequent 21-40%
Chaetozone setosa 4 Common 21-40%
Liocarcinus depurator 4 Rare 21-40%
Sertularia cupressina 4 21-40%
Spiophanes bombyx 4 21-40%
Urticina felina 4 Rare 21-40%
Carcinus maenas 3 Rare 21-40%
Balanus crenatus 2 Occasional 21-40%
Scoloplos armiger 2 21-40%
Spio filicornis 2 Frequent 21-40%
Cancer pagurus 1 21-40%
Saccharina latissima 1 Rare 21-40%

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Not applicable or unknown.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code Habitat name
2015 (15.03) SS.SSa.IFiSa Infralittoral fine sand
2004 (04.05) SS.SSa.IFiSa Infralittoral fine sand
1997 (97.06) Part of SS.IGS.FaS Shallow gravel faunal communities

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