Biodiversity & Conservation

Venerid bivalves in circalittoral coarse sand or gravel



Image Anon. - Neopentadactyla mixta and venerid bivalves in circalittoral shell gravel or coarse sand. Image width ca XXm.
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Distribution map

SS.SCS.CCS.MedLumVen 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 CGS.Ven is patchily distributed around the British coast. The biotope is very extensive in the Irish Sea.
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

Circalittoral gravels, coarse sands and shell gravels, often in relatively deep water, may be characterized by the presence of conspicuous venerid bivalves such as Circomphalus casina, Clausinella fasciata, Timoclea ovata and other robust bivalve species such as Glycymeris glycymeris and Astarte sulcata. Spatangus purpureus may also be present especially where the interstices of the gravel are filled by finer particles, in which case, Gari tellinella and Timoclea ovata may also be prevalent (Glemarec, 1973). Such communities in gravely sediments may be relatively species-rich as they may also contain epifauna such as Hydroides norvegica and Pomatoceros lamarcki. In sand wave areas this biotope may contain elements of the IGS.Sell and IGS.FabMag biotopes. This biotope has previously been described as the 'Deep Venus Community' and the 'Boreal Off-Shore Gravel Association' by other workers (Ford, 1923; Jones, 1950). CGS.Ven may contain more sub-biotopes than have yet been described in the present work: e.g. Ford (1923) describes a 'Series A' and a 'Series B' characterized by Echinocardium cordatum-Chamelea gallina and Spatangus purpurea-Clausinella fasciata. Collectively, the CGS.Ven biotope dominates the offshore Irish Sea benthos (Mackie et al., 1995). (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

None entered

This review can be cited as follows:

Rayment, W.J. 2001. Venerid bivalves in circalittoral coarse sand or gravel. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25/11/2015]. Available from: <>