Biodiversity & Conservation

Abra alba, Nucula nitida and Corbula gibba in circalittoral muddy sand or slightly mixed sediment


<i>%Abra alba%</i>, <i>%Nucula nitida%</i> and <i>%Corbula gibba%</i> in circalittoral muddy sand or slightly mixed sediment
Distribution map

SS.SSa.CMuSa.AalbNuc recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

For a list of 2004 characterising species please see the JNCC website.

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

  • Abra alba
  • Nucula nitidosa
  • Corbula gibba
Community Importance Species name Common Name
Important characterizing Abra alba A bivalve mollusc
Important characterizing Nucula nitidosa A bivalve
Important characterizing Corbula gibba Basket shell
Important characterizing Nephtys hombergii A catworm
Important characterizing Lagis koreni A bristleworm
Important other Echinocardium cordatum Sea potato


The small bivalves, Abra alba, Nucula nitidosa and Corbula gibba and infaunal polychaetes Lagis koreni and Nephtys hombergii are considered to be important characterizing species as, in their absence, the biotope would not be recognized. These species live within the sediment and their combined burrowing/feeding activities serve to generate a complex and shifting 'mosaic' of habitat patches in an otherwise homogenous sediment, which probably affects species diversity locally. However, no single species activity was identified as the dominant factor determining local biological structure. Although not especially abundant in the biotope, Echinocardium cordatum is a larger species whose burrowing also contributes to the localized habitat mosaic. It has been assessed as an important other species, whose presence may affect the sensitivity of the biotope.

Additional information

No text entered.

This review can be cited as follows:

Budd, G.C. 2006. Abra alba, Nucula nitida and Corbula gibba in circalittoral muddy sand or slightly mixed sediment. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25/11/2015]. Available from: <>