JNCC is a statutory adviser to UK Government and devolved administrations
  Home  >  Marine  >  Marine Habitats  >  Habitat  >  Biotope classification

Polychaetes, including Paraonis fulgens, in littoral fine sand

Full Hierarchy  >>  LS >>  LS.LSa >>  LS.LSa.FiSa >>  LS.LSa.FiSa.Po >>  LS.LSa.FiSa.Po.Pful

Habitat (physical) description


 Salinity: Full (30-35 ppt), Variable (18-35 ppt) 
 Wave exposure: Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very sheltered, Extremely sheltered 
 Tidal streams:  
 Substratum: Medium and fine sand 
 Depth Band: Lower shore, Mid shore, Upper shore 
 Other Features:  

Download comparative physical and biological data. The comparative tables enable a rapid comparison of the species composition and principal physical characteristics between a given set of biotopes.

Previous code

This biotope occurred in previous versions of the classification as:
LGS.S.AP.P (part) - Version: 97.06
LGS.S.AP.Pon (part) - Version: 97.06
LSND.AP - Version: 6.95

Distribution of habitat LS.LSa.FiSa.Po.Pful  Polychaetes, including Paraonis fulgens, in littoral fine sand
Distribution of habitat LS.LSa.FiSa.Po.Pful Polychaetes, including Paraonis fulgens, in littoral fine sand, based on records on the JNCC marine database. Red dots represent records on which the biotope is based. Blue dots show orther certain records, black dots show records tentatively assigned to this biotope.

Biotope description

This biotope occurs mainly on the mid and lower shore of moderately wave-exposed coasts, with medium and fine clean sand which remains damp throughout the tidal cycle and contains little organic matter. The sediment is often rippled and typically lacks an anoxic sub-surface layer. Polychaetes make up the greater part of the community, and are dominated by Paraonis fulgens, Capitella capitata, Pygospio elegans, Ophelia rathkei and Eteone longa. The presence of polychaetes may be seen as coloured burrows running down from the surface of the sediment. Nemerteans may also be present. The amphipods Bathyporeia pilosa and B. sarsi are often present.


Po.Pful may be present higher up on the shore than Po.Aten, or lower down than the AmSco communities or Ol.FS. The strandline community Tal may be present on the same shore where driftlines of decomposing seaweed and other debris occur on the upper shore.

Temporal variation

The infauna of this biotope may be reduced during winter, as increased storminess and wave action increases sediment mobility and may lead to some species migrating or being washed out of the sediment. The lugworm Arenicola marina may be present occasionally, usually as a temporary recruitment and is likely to be washed out during storms.

Similar biotopes

LS.LSa.MoSa.AmSco.EurOccurs under more exposed conditions in more mobile sediments, and tending to be present higher up on the shore. Infauna is more sparse, dominated by Eurydice pulchra, with polychaetes virtually absent.
LS.LSa.MoSa.AmSco.PonOccurs in more exposed conditions, where sediments are less stable. The infauna is dominated by amphipod species, particularly Pontocrates arenarius, while the polychaete fauna is relatively sparse and dominated by Scolelepis squamata.
LS.LSa.FiSa.Po.AtenOccurs in more sheltered conditions. The sediments are more stable than in the case of Po.Pful and therefore support bivalves, especially Angulus tenuis, in addition to a range of polychaete species similar to the Po.Pful assemblage.
LS.LSa.FiSa.Po.NcirOccurs lower on the shore. P. fulgens is not always present, the infauna is dominated by Nephtys spp.

Characterising Species

Taxa Frequency Typical Abundance % Contribution to similarity Abundance (no.2)
Nemertea P 6 36
Nematoda F 2 50
Eteone longa A 4 50
Streptosyllis websteri P 2 27
Nephtys cirrosa P 1 8
Scoloplos armiger F 2 43
Aricidea P 2 31
Paraonis fulgens A 34 240
Pygospio elegans C 6 288
Spio martinensis P 2 102
Capitella capitata C 7 410
Arenicola marina F 1 39
Ophelia rathkei C 5 136
Oligochaeta P 1 37
Bathyporeia pilosa C 16 1102
Bathyporeia sarsi C 4 125
Haustorius arenarius F 1 13

Example photographs of biotope

No characteristic photos currently available. If you are able to provide a photograph of this biotope please contact .

This report should be cited as:
The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 04.05 JNCC, Peterborough
ISBN 1 861 07561 8 (internet version)