Biodiversity & Conservation

Muddy sand shores



Image Joint Nature Conservation Committee - View across a cockle strand (biotope LMS.Pcer). Image width foreground ca 10 m.
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Distribution map

LS.LSa.MuSa 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 Found around all coasts of the UK but sparse around the south east coast where it is only found around the Wash and Thames estuary.
National importance Common

Text page icon Description of biotope

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

Shores of muddy sand, typically consisting of particles less than 4 mm in diameter, where the mud fraction (less than 0.063 mm diameter particles) makes up between 10 and 30% of the sediment. Typically, the sand fraction is medium (particle diameter 0.25-1 mm) or fine (particle diameter 0.063-0.25 mm) sand. Muddy sand usually forms gently sloping flats that remain water-saturated throughout the tidal cycle. They support communities predominantly of polychaetes and bivalves, including the lugworm Arenicola marina, the cockle Cerastoderma edule and the Baltic tellin Macoma balthica. (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:

Tyler-Walters, H. & Marshall, C. 2006. Muddy sand shores. 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: <>