BIOTIC Species Information for Lanice conchilega
Researched byLizzie Tyler Data supplied byUniversity of Sheffield
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific nameLanice conchilega Common nameSand mason
MCS CodeP1195 Recent SynonymsNone

PhylumAnnelida Subphylum
Superclass ClassPolychaeta
Subclass OrderTerebellida
Suborder FamilyAmphitritinae
GenusLanice Speciesconchilega

Additional InformationNo text entered
Taxonomy References Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward et al., 1996, Fish & Fish, 1996,
General Biology
Growth formTubicolous
Vermiform segmented
Feeding methodPassive suspension feeder
Active suspension feeder
Surface deposit feeder
Sub-surface deposit feeder
Environmental positionInfaunal
Typical food typesDetritus HabitTubiculous
BioturbatorNot researched FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityFragile SizeMedium-large(21-50cm)
HeightInsufficient information Growth RateInsufficient information
Adult dispersal potential100-1000m DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationSociability
Lanice conchilega can be found as a solitary individual or in populations of several thousand per m2.

Buhr & Winter (1977) suggested that Lanice conchilega is unlikely to be just a surface deposit feeder as the fringed ends of its tube form an extensive network meaning that detritus will be trapped in the fringe. They suggest that feeding method is density dependant. At low densities (several dozen individuals per m2) Lanice conchilega will preferentially deposit feed. At high densities (several thousand individuals per m2) competition at the sediment surface will force animals to adopt suspension feeding.
Biology References Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward et al., 1996, Fish & Fish, 1996, Buhr & Winter, 1977, Hayward & Ryland, 1990, Heidi Tillin, unpub data, Julie Bremner, unpub data,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandLanice conchilega is found around all coasts of Britain and Ireland.
Global distributionLanice conchilega is found from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, in the Arabian Gulf and the Pacific.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationHartmann-Shröder (1971; cited in Carey, 1987) reported that Lanice conchilega was found from the low water neap tide mark down to 1700m.

Substratum preferencesCoarse clean sand
Sandy mud
Fine clean sand
Muddy sand
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Offshore seabed
Strait / sound
Enclosed coast / Embayment
Biological zoneLower Eulittoral
Sublittoral Fringe
Upper Infralittoral
Lower Infralittoral
Upper Circalittoral
Lower Circalittoral
Circalittoral Offshore
Bathybenthic (Bathyal)
Wave exposureModerately Exposed
Very Sheltered
Extremely Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowStrong (3-6 kn)
Moderately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
Very Weak (negligible)
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Variable (18-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Carey, 1987, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward et al., 1996, Fish & Fish, 1996, Beukema, 1990, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Julie Bremner, unpub data,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismPlanktotrophic
Reproductive SeasonApril to October Reproductive LocationWater column
Reproductive frequency Regeneration potential No
Life spanInsufficient information Age at reproductive maturity
Generation timeInsufficient information Fecundity160,000 eggs
Egg/propagule size150 µm diamter Fertilization typeExternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential>10km Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stage1-2 months   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationReproduction
Adult Lanice conchilega were seen to release gametes over several hours in June 1991 (Ansell, 1995). Kuhl (1972) remarked that the larvae of Lanice conchilega occur from April to October. The larvae spend up to 60 days in the plankton, so that larvae could potentially disperse over a great distance, depending on the hydrographical regime.
Reproduction References Kuhl, 1972, Ansell, 1995, Eckert, 2003, Heidi Tillin, unpub data, Julie Bremner, unpub data, McHugh, 1993,
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