Biodiversity & Conservation

Nephtys cirrosa and Bathyporeia spp. in infralittoral sand



Image Francis Bunker - Sand eel shoal over sandy seabed. Image width ca XX cm.
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Distribution map

SS.IGS.FaS.NcirBat 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 Present in the shallow sublittoral to depths of 30 m at wave and tide exposed locations around Britain and Ireland.
National importance Not available

Text page icon Description of biotope

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

Well-sorted medium and fine sands characterized by Nephtys cirrosa and Bathyporeia spp. (and sometimes Pontocrates spp.) which occur in the shallow sublittoral to at least 30 m depth. This biotope occurs in sediments subject to physical disturbance, as a result of strong tidal streams or wave action, and may be closely allied to the intertidal biotopes LGS.AEur and LGS.AP.Pon, and intermediate in the degree of disturbance between the subtidal biotopes IGS.Mob and IGS.Sell. The faunal diversity of this biotope is considerably reduced compared to less disturbed biotopes and for the most part consists of the more actively-swimming amphipods. Sand eels Ammodytes sp. may occasionally be observed in association with this biotope (and others). The range in wave exposure and tidal streams within which this biotope occurs is indicative of the fact that either wave exposure or tidal streams are responsible for the level of physical disturbance that yields this biotope. This biotope is very similar to IGS.Ncir which occurs in reduced/variable salinities with additional reduced salinity fauna. Stochastic recruitment events in the Nephtys cirrosa populations may be very important to the population size of other polychaetes present and may therefore create a degree of variation in community composition (Bamber 1993). (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

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This review can be cited as follows:

Budd, G.C. 2006. Nephtys cirrosa and Bathyporeia spp. in infralittoral 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: <>