BIOTIC Species Information for Littorina littorea
Researched byAngus Jackson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr David Reid
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandFound on all British coasts, though rare or absent in the Isles of Scilly and Channel Isles.
Global distributionDistributed from northern Spain to the White Sea (northern Russia).
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range60 m
MigratorySeasonal (environment)   
Distribution Additional Information
  • The species is found most commonly on the lower shore and shallow subtidal but in ideal conditions may be found up to the high tide line. However, the lower limit is poorly defined and will depend on factors such as predation, latitude etc. Therefore, the species may be found in the infra- and circalittoral zones. However, in deeper water the species is only found as isolated individuals in very low densities.
  • At least in northern Britain Littorina littorea migrates down shore as temperatures fall in autumn (to reduce exposure to sub-zero temperatures) and up shore as temperatures rise in spring; migration depends on local winter temperatures. When exposed to the air, the species usually remains inactive unless conditions are very moist.

Substratum preferencesBedrock
Large to very large boulders
Small boulders
Gravel / shingle
Muddy gravel
Sandy mud
Muddy sand
Salt marsh
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Biological zoneUpper Eulittoral
Mid Eulittoral
Lower Eulittoral
Sublittoral Fringe
Wave exposureModerately Exposed
Very Sheltered
Extremely Sheltered
Ultra Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowStrong (3-6 kn)
Moderately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
Very Weak (negligible)
SalinityVariable (18-40 psu)
Reduced (18-30 psu)
Full (30-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Hayward et al., 1996, Campbell, 1994, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Graham, 1971, Fish & Fish, 1996, Newell, 1958, Fish, 1972, Fretter & Graham, 1994, Rutherford, Web pages, Gendron, 1977, Gardner & Thomas, 1987,
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