Biodiversity & Conservation

Echinocardium cordatum and Ensis spp. in lower shore or shallow sublittoral muddy fine sand.



Image Anon. - Echinocardium cordatum dug out of sand. Image width ca XX cm.
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Distribution map

SS.IMS.FaMS.EcorEns recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

Species indicative of sensitivity

To assess the sensitivity of the biotope, the sensitivity of component species is reviewed. Those species that are considered to be particularly indicative of the sensitivity of the biotope, and for which research has been undertaken in detail are shown below (see selection criteria). The biology of other component species of the biotope is also taken into account wherever information is known to the researcher.

Community Importance Species name Common Name
Key functional Echinocardium cordatum Sea potato
Key functional Ensis spp. Razor shell
Important characterizing Liocarcinus depurator Harbour crab


The heart urchin Echinocardium cordatum and razor shells, represented by Ensis ensis, occur in high frequency and are the key species after which the biotope is named. Ensis ensis also serves to represent the functional group of suspension feeding burrowing bivalves in the biotope. Although mobile and able to move between habitats the swimming crab Liocarcinus depurator is often found in this biotope and is a predator of many of the benthic species present.

Additional information

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This review can be cited as follows:

Hill, J.M. 2007. Echinocardium cordatum and Ensis spp. in lower shore or shallow sublittoral muddy fine sand.. 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: <>