BIOTIC Species Information for Thyasira gouldi
Researched byAngus Jackson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandAt the head of Loch Etive, west coast of Scotland. Formerly also found in Lochs Linnhe, Eil and Sunart. Recorded also from Shetland (further detail lacking). Presence in Scottish waters forms the extreme southern end of the geographic range.
Global distributionA pan-arctic distribution from waters of the Commonwealth of Independent States along the north coast of Norway, around the coast of Greenland. On American coasts as far south as Cape Cod on the east and California on the west coast.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range15-25m
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationGeographic distribution was probably more general during the last glaciation and remaining populations are relicts. The populations in Lochs Linnhe and Eil have been killed by the discharge of pulp-mill effluent. The population in Loch Etive has also decreased massively between 1984 and 1989. It is possible that this decrease has been brought about by a viral infection of the mutualistic bacteria living on the gills of Thyasira gouldi. Digestion of the bacteria provides considerable nutrient input. This species can burrow up to ten times its shell length (max. 8cm) and uses its vermiform foot to create channels deeper into the sediment. A mucus lined inhalant tube is made up to the surface from the living chamber. Little information is available about preferred water flow rates but are probably quite low being at the head of a sea loch. Wave exposure preferences are also likely to be sheltered. Typical depths in Scottish waters are 15-25 metres but the species has been found down to a few hundred metres depth. Optimal salinity levels are 25-30 psu. Thyasira gouldi appears to be restricted to locations where bottom waters remain cool throughout the year as a result of salinity stratification.

Substratum preferencesMuddy sand
Sandy mud
Physiographic preferencesSealoch
Biological zoneLower Infralittoral
Upper Circalittoral
Lower Circalittoral
Wave exposureInsufficient information
Tidal stream strength/Water flowInsufficient information
SalinityReduced (18-30 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Blacknell & Ansell, 1975, Southward, 1986, Blacknell & Ansell, 1974, Bowden & Heppel, 1973, Southward & Southward, 1991, Dando & Southward, 1986,
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