Biodiversity & Conservation

Nephtys cirrosa and Bathyporeia spp. in infralittoral sand



Image Francis Bunker - Sand eel shoal over sandy seabed. Image width ca XX cm.
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Distribution map

SS.IGS.FaS.NcirBat recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

Marine natural heritage importance

Listed under EC Habitats Directive
UK Biodiversity Action Plan
National importance Not available
Habitat Directive feature (Annex 1) Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time
Large shallow inlets and bays

Biotope importance

Apart from supporting its own biological community, the biotope supports predatory fish and bird species. In particular, the sand eel, Ammodytes sp., is associated with the IGS.NcirBat biotope and is an important prey species for bird populations, e.g. guillemot, razorbill, puffin and terns. The arctic tern and puffin rely on populations of sand eel as their predominant food source. The sand eel is also an important food source for wintering birds such as scoters, little terns and the red-throated diver (Batten et al., 1990; Gibbons et al., 1993).


Sand habitats are subjected to a variety of anthropogenic factors, physical disturbance may be caused by directly and indirectly by fishing and aggregate dredging activities. For instance, fishing may affect the physical integrity of the sediment system through, e.g. scraping, digging or ploughing of the seabed, whilst dredging activities, spoil disposal and aggregate extraction would affect the sediment and hydrographic regime through a variety of effects (see sensitivity assessment for substratum loss, smothering, suspended sediment and turbidity) (Elliott et al., 1998).

Additional information icon Additional information

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This review can be cited as follows:

Budd, G.C. 2006. Nephtys cirrosa and Bathyporeia spp. in infralittoral sand. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 27/11/2015]. Available from: <>