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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.

   Polychaete worm reefs (on sublittoral sediment)

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Exposed, Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very sheltered
Tidal streams Strong (3-6 kn), Moderately strong (1-3 kn), Weak (>1 kn)
Substratum Muddy gravelly sand with pebbles
Zone Circalittoral
Depth Band 5-10 m, 10-20 m, 20-30 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.SBR.PoR Polychaete worm reefs (on sublittoral sediment)

  • 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 reefs of polychaete worms in mixed sediments found in a variety of hydrographic conditions. Such habitats may range from extensive structures of considerable size to loose agglomerations of tubes. Such communities often play an important role in the structural composition or stability of the seabed and provide a wide range of niches for other species to inhabit. Consequently polychaete worm reefs often support a diverse flora and fauna.


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
Sabellaria alveolata 24 Super abundant 41-60%
Sabellaria spinulosa 15 Abundant 61-80%
Pagurus bernhardus 9 Occasional 61-80%
Serpula vermicularis 9 Common 41-60%
Mediomastus fragilis 7 Common 41-60%
Sabellaria spinulosa 7 Common 41-60%
Spirobranchus triqueter 6 Frequent 41-60%
Psammechinus miliaris 6 Frequent 41-60%
Asterias rubens 5 Occasional 41-60%
Flustra foliacea 5 Occasional 41-60%
Ophiothrix fragilis 5 Occasional 41-60%
Buccinum undatum 4 Occasional 41-60%
Nemertea 3 Common 41-60%
Dendrodoa grossularia 3 Frequent 41-60%
Eulalia tripunctata 3 Abundant 21-40%
Harmothoe impar 3 Common 41-60%
Nematoda 2 Frequent 21-40%
Abra alba 2 Common 21-40%
Alcyonidium diaphanum 2 Occasional 21-40%
Ascidia mentula 2 Frequent 41-60%
Ascidiella aspersa 2 Frequent 21-40%
Balanus crenatus 2 Occasional 21-40%
Chaetozone zetlandica 2 Frequent 21-40%
Diplosoma listerianum 2 Frequent 21-40%
Steromphala cineraria 2 Occasional 41-60%
Nemertesia antennina 2 Occasional 41-60%
Eunereis longissima 2 41-60%
Pholoe inornata 2 Frequent 21-40%
Protodorvillea kefersteini 2 Frequent 21-40%
Scoloplos armiger 2 Abundant 41-60%
Syllis armillaris 2 Frequent 21-40%
Corallinaceae 1 Occasional 21-40%
Aequipecten opercularis 1 Occasional 21-40%
Ampelisca spinipes 1 Frequent 21-40%
Ciona intestinalis 1 Rare 21-40%
Eumida sanguinea 1 Abundant 21-40%
Hydrallmania falcata 1 Rare 21-40%
Lanice conchilega 1 Common 21-40%
Sabella pavonina 1 Occasional 21-40%
Urticina felina 1 Occasional 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.SBR.PoR Polychaete worm reefs (on sublittoral sediment)
2004 (04.05) SS.SBR.PoR Polychaete worm reefs (on sublittoral sediment)

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