Biodiversity & Conservation

Burrowing amphipods and Eurydice pulchra in well-drained clean sand shores



Image Paul Brazier - View along sandy shore with lighthouse in background. Image width ca XX cm.
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Distribution map

LS.LSa.MoSa.AmSco.Eur 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 A common biotope that occurs on all coasts of Britain and Ireland, where the hydrodynamic regime and underlying topography and geology allow accumulation of sandy substrata. Largely absent in the south-east of England.
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

Well-draining beaches of coarse to medium grained mobile sand, generally on exposed coasts, support populations of burrowing amphipods and the isopod Eurydice pulchra. The degree of drainage appears to be a critical factor in determining the presence of polychaetes; only Scolelepis squamata appears to be capable of tolerating the well-drained sediments of this biotope. In more exposed conditions this biotope may extend the full width of the shore or be restricted to the lower part of the shore with barren sands (LGS.BarSnd) higher up. This biotope has two facies; drying upper and mid shore sands, and highly mobile lower shore and shallow sublittoral sand bars. Burrowing amphipods found frequently include Bathyporeia pelagica, Bathyporeia pilosa, Pontocrates arenarius and Haustorius arenarius. Scolelepis squamata, if present, occurs in only low densities. Oligochaetes may be present and are often common where there is freshwater influence. This community is distinguished from the amphipod-polychaete communities (LGS.AP) by its impoverished polychaete fauna (only occasional Scolelepis squamata or other polychaetes) and its lack of bivalves. (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

Other biotopes are represented by this key information review; LGS.AP, LGS.AP.P, LGS.AP.Pon, which are distinguished from LSG.AEur by their greater diversity of polychaete species and the presence of bivalves. The two sub-types; LGS.AP.P and LGS.AP.Pon differ in their proportion of amphipods and polychaetes and the specific species present in the sand.

This review can be cited as follows:

Budd, G.C. 2004. Burrowing amphipods and Eurydice pulchra in well-drained clean 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: <>