Biodiversity & Conservation

Venerid bivalves in circalittoral coarse sand or gravel


Image Anon. - Neopentadactyla mixta and venerid bivalves in circalittoral shell gravel or coarse sand. Image width ca XXm.
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Distribution map

recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats

Marine natural heritage importance

Listed under EC Habitats Directive
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

The biotope is probably an important source of food for opportunistic predatory fish such as gurnards and whiting and benthic scavengers such as whelks. The bivalve, Montacuta substriata, is often found living commensally on the spines of the purple heart urchin, Spatangus purpureus.


Of the characterizing species in the biotope little evidence was found concerning targeted extraction. Some of the bivalves, e.g. Glycymeris glycymeris, are exported to mainland Europe for human consumption (Hayward et al., 1996; Anon, 1999) but it is unclear whether their extraction is targeted or as a result of bycatch from beam trawling. The habitat of the biotope is exploited in aggregate extraction (Anon, 1999) which would remove considerable quantities of the substratum.

Additional information icon Additional information

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This review can be cited as follows:

Rayment, W.J. 2001. Venerid bivalves in circalittoral coarse sand or gravel. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 29/11/2015]. Available from: <>