Biodiversity & Conservation

Dense Lanice conchilega in tide-swept lower shore sand



Image Anon. - Dense Lanice conchilega in muddy sand. Image width ca XX cm.
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Distribution map

LS.LSa.MuSa.Lan recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland Recorded from all coasts of England, Scotland and Wales on tide-swept sandy beaches. In Ireland the biotope has been recorded in Rosbin Cove, Roaringwater Bay, Co. Cork, and along the coast in Co. Wexford.
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

Medium to fine sand, which is usually clean but may contain some fines and supports dense populations of Lanice conchilega, usually on the lower shore but also sometimes on water-logged mid shores. The biotope occurs under tide-swept conditions in sheltered straits, sounds and fully marine sea lochs or on shores moderately exposed to wave action. The biotope is distinguished from others in sandy beaches by the presence of Lanice conchilega at levels of common and above or as the main polychaete component. Other polychaetes present are tolerant of sand scour or mobility of the surface levels of the sediment and include glycerid polychaetes, Anaitides mucosa, Nephtys cirrosa, Nephtys hombergii and Pygospio elegans. Few crustaceans are found regularly and the bivalve component is restricted to cockles Cerastoderma edule and more rarely Macoma balthica. Pebbles and cobbles may also be mixed in with lower shore tide-swept sand with dense Lanice conchilega between the cobbles, but the infaunal component is rarely sampled. The infaunal community under these circumstances, provided that the cobbles are not packed very close together, will be similar to that in areas of purer sand. Dense Lanice conchilega also occurs in shallow sublittoral sediments (IGS.Lcon). (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. Dense Lanice conchilega in tide-swept lower shore sand. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 26/11/2015]. Available from: <>