BIOTIC Species Information for Arenicola marina
Researched byDr Harvey Tyler-Walters Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr Matt Bentley
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandFound on all coasts around Britain and Ireland and widely in north-west Europe.
Global distributionRecorded from shores of western Europe, Norway, Spitzbergen, north Siberia, and Iceland. In the western Atlantic it has been recorded from Greenland, along the northern coast form the Bay of Fundy to Long Island. Its southern limit is about 40° N.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth rangeIntertidal
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationNone entered

Substratum preferencesSalt marsh
Muddy gravel
Muddy sand
Sandy mud
Fine clean sand
Physiographic preferencesStrait / sound
Ria / Voe
Enclosed coast / Embayment
Isolated saline water (Lagoon)
Biological zoneUpper Eulittoral
Mid Eulittoral
Lower Eulittoral
Sublittoral Fringe
Wave exposureModerately Exposed
Very Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowVery Strong (>6 kn)
Strong (3-6 kn)
Moderately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
Very Weak (negligible)
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Variable (18-40 psu)
Reduced (18-30 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional InformationArenicola marina reaches its highest abundance at mid-tidal levels on muddy sandy shores, except in summer when another zone of abundance occurs on the upper shore due to migration of juveniles (see larval information). Population density is correlated with mean particle size and organic content of the sediment. Arenicola marina is generally absent from sediments with a mean particle size of <80µm and abundance declines in sediments >200µm (fine sand) because they can not ingest large particles. Its absence from more fluid muddy sediments is probably because they do not produce large amounts of mucus with which to stabilise their burrows. Populations are greatest in sands of mean particle size of 100µm. Between 100-200µm the biomass of Arenicola marina increases with increasing organic content (Longbottom, 1970; Hayward, 1994). However, juveniles prefer medium particle sizes (ca. 250 µm) over fine or coarse sand (see general biology - larval) (Hardege et al., 1998).
Distribution References Fish & Fish, 1996, Ashworth, 1904, Zebe & Schiedek, 1996, Hayward, 1994, Dales, 1958, Longbottom, 1970, Shumway & Davenport, 1977, Beukema & de Vlas, 1979, Farke & Berghuis, 1979, Cadman, 1997, Clay, 1967, Hardege et al., 1998, Barnes, 1994,
About MarLIN | Contact, Enquiries & Feedback | Terms & Conditions | Funding | Glossary | Accessibility | Privacy | Sponsorship

Creative Commons License BIOTIC (Biological Traits Information Catalogue) by MarLIN (Marine Life Information Network) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available at Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own terms and conditions and they may or may not be available for reuse. Based on a work at