information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Hediste diversicolor in littoral mud



UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification


Mud and sandy mud shores in sheltered marine inlets and estuaries subject to variable or reduced salinity. The biotope is typically found on the mid and lower shores in the upper and mid estuary. If present on the upper shore, the sediment may become firm and compacted as water drains out, though usually the biotope occurs lower on the shore and the sediment remains water saturated during low tide. An anoxic layer occurs within the upper 5 cm of the sediment. The infauna is dominated by abundant or superabundant ragworms Hediste diversicolor. Other species that occur in a significant number of samples include oligochaetes such as Heterochaeta costata and Tubificoides spp., polychaetes such as Streblospio shrubsolii and Manayunkia aestuarina, the mud shrimp Corophium volutator, and the spire shell Hydrobia ulvae (Information from Connor et al., 2004).


Depth range

Mid shore, Lower shore

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Sensitivity reviewHow is sensitivity assessed?



Species indicative of sensitivity


Physical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Chemical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Biological Pressures

No sensitivity data available

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This review can be cited as:

Ashley, M 2016. [Hediste diversicolor] in littoral mud. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 19-06-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 01/07/2016