Biodiversity & Conservation

Capitella capitata and Tubificoides spp. in reduced salinity infralittoral muddy sediment


<i>%Capitella capitata%</i> and <i>Tubificoides</i> spp. in reduced salinity infralittoral muddy sediment
Distribution map

SS.SMu.SMuVS.CapTubi recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

SS.SMu.SMuVS.CapTubi is not listed under any importance categories.

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland
National importance

Text page icon Description of biotope

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

Reduced salinity, muddy sediment dominated by the polychaete Capitella capitata with a very low species richness. Large numbers of the oligochaetes Tubificoides spp. May be found in conjunction with the Capitella capitata. The biotope is found in the muddier sediments, usually with a high organic content, away from tidal channels in estuaries. On occasion relatively large numbers of Capitella capitata can be found in sandier sediments within a more mobile habitat although these are thought largely to be imported by tidal streams from nearby populations (a definition of a separate biotope may be appropriate). A similar biotope IMU.Tub can be separated from IMU.CapTub by a swap in the dominant species from Capitella capitata to Tubificoides spp. and may occur in lower salinity. More mobile muds which occur in areas with an extremely high suspended particulate component to the water column, IMU.MobMud, may contain a similar suite of species to IMU.CapTub although in lower abundance. Only a description of the sediment consistency in the field would allow positive classification. The presence of dense Capitella capitata has classically been associated with organically enriched and physically disturbed habitats in the marine environment (Warren 1977; Pearson & Rosenberg 1978). In estuaries the presence of this biotope may be associated with other natural factors including the occurrence of a competitive refuge for Capitella capitata in the reduced-salinity environment (Wolff 1973).

Additional information icon Additional information

This review can be cited as follows:

Bilewitch, J. 2009. Capitella capitata and Tubificoides spp. in reduced salinity infralittoral muddy sediment. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 28/11/2015]. Available from: <>