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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Polychaetes, including Paraonis fulgens, in littoral fine sand

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt), Variable (18-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very sheltered, Extremely sheltered
Tidal streams
Substratum Medium and fine sand
Depth Band Lower shore, Mid shore, Upper shore
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 LS.LSa.FiSa.Po.Pful Polychaetes, including <I>Paraonis fulgens</I>, in littoral 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'

Point data based on records in the UK Marine Recorder Snapshot.


This biotope occurs mainly on the mid and lower shore of moderately wave-exposed coasts, with medium and fine clean sand which remains damp throughout the tidal cycle and contains little organic matter. The sediment is often rippled and typically lacks an anoxic sub-surface layer. Polychaetes make up the greater part of the community, and are dominated by Paraonis fulgens, Capitella capitata, Pygospio elegans, Ophelia rathkei and Eteone longa. The presence of polychaetes may be seen as coloured burrows running down from the surface of the sediment. Nemerteans may also be present. The amphipods Bathyporeia pilosa and B. sarsi are often present.


Po.Pful may be present higher up on the shore than Po.Aten, or lower down than the AmSco communities or Ol.FS. The strandline community Tal may be present on the same shore where driftlines of decomposing seaweed and other debris occur on the upper shore.

Temporal variation

The infauna of this biotope may be reduced during winter, as increased storminess and wave action increases sediment mobility and may lead to some species migrating or being washed out of the sediment. The lugworm Arenicola marina may be present occasionally, usually as a temporary recruitment and is likely to be washed out during storms.

Characterising species

Taxon Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%) Typical abundance - SACFOR scale Typical abundance - (count per m2) % of core records where taxon was recorded
Paraonis fulgens 34 Abundant 240 81-100%
Bathyporeia pilosa 16 Common 1102 41-60%
Capitella capitata 7 Common 410 21-40%
Nemertea 6 36 61-80%
Pygospio elegans 6 Common 288 41-60%
Ophelia rathkei 5 Common 136 41-60%
Bathyporeia sarsi 4 Common 125 21-40%
Eteone longa 4 Abundant 50 41-60%
Nematoda 2 Frequent 50 21-40%
Aricidea 2 31 21-40%
Scoloplos armiger 2 Frequent 43 21-40%
Spio martinensis 2 102 41-60%
Streptosyllis websteri 2 27 21-40%
Oligochaeta 1 37 21-40%
Arenicola marina 1 Frequent 39 41-60%
Haustorius arenarius 1 Frequent 13 21-40%
Nephtys cirrosa 1 8 21-40%

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Occurs under more exposed conditions in more mobile sediments, and tending to be present higher up on the shore. Infauna is more sparse, dominated by Eurydice pulchra, with polychaetes virtually absent.

Occurs in more exposed conditions, where sediments are less stable. The infauna is dominated by amphipod species, particularly Pontocrates arenarius, while the polychaete fauna is relatively sparse and dominated by Scolelepis squamata.

Occurs in more sheltered conditions. The sediments are more stable than in the case of LS.LSa.FiSa.Po.Pful and therefore support bivalves, especially Macomangulus tenuis, in addition to a range of polychaete species similar to the LS.LSa.FiSa.Po.Pful assemblage.

Occurs lower on the shore. P. fulgens is not always present, the infauna is dominated by Nephtys spp.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code
1997 (97.06) LGS.S.AP.P (part)
1997 (97.06) LGS.S.AP.Pon (part)
1995 LSND.AP

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