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.SSa.IMuSa.EcorEns recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland Recorded from most coasts of Britain and Ireland except the Norfolk coast and the south east of England.
National importance Uncommon

Text page icon Description of biotope

For a full description of this biotope including characterizing species, distribution, survey information and references visit JNCC

Sheltered lower shore and shallow sublittoral sediments of sand or muddy fine sand in fully marine conditions, support populations of the urchin Echinocardium cordatum and the razor shell Ensis siliqua or Ensis arcuatus. A rich variety of polychaetes, such as Notomastus latericeus, Mediomastus fragilis and Scoloplos armiger, may occur in abundance. Bivalves such as Mysella bidentata, Tellimya ferruginosa, Dosinia lupinus, Chamelea gallina and Gari fervensis are typical of this habitat (but may not be present all at once), as are the predatory worms Pholoe inornata and Harmothoe spp. Seagrass Zostera marina may occur in low density (see also IMS.Zmar). Amphiura brachiata is common in fine sandy sediments and Labidoplax media in slightly muddier sediments. This biotope is currently broadly defined and needs further consideration, especially in relation to IGS.FabMag and IMS.MacAbr. (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

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 30/11/2015]. Available from: <>