Biodiversity & Conservation

Serpula vermicularis reefs on very sheltered circalittoral muddy sand



Image David Connor - A colony of tube worms forming a small reef, Loch Creran. Image width ca 40 cm.
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Distribution map

SS.CMS._.Ser 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.

Species found especially in this biotope

  • Serpula vermicularis
Community Importance Species name Common Name
Key structural Serpula vermicularis Serpulid tube worm


Serpula vermicularis is the only species selected to represent the sensitivity of the biotope. Although the biotope has a very high species diversity no other species are included because the individual species present may vary and the loss of these species is not likely to affect the function and existence of the biotope. Although the selected 'indicative species' are particularly important in undertaking the assessment because they have been subject to detailed research, account is taken of knowledge of the biology of all characterizing species in the biotope when undertaking an assessment of sensitivity of this biotope.

Additional information

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This review can be cited as follows:

Hill, J.M. & Wilding C.M. 2008. Serpula vermicularis reefs on very sheltered circalittoral muddy sand. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 30/11/2015]. Available from: <>