Pontocrates arenarius in Atlantic littoral mobile sand

Description (English)

Mainly on the mid and lower shore on wave-exposed or moderately wave-exposed coasts of medium and fine sand, sometimes with a fraction of coarse 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. The infauna is dominated by burrowing amphipods, most notably Pontocrates arenarius, as well as Bathyporeia pelagica, Haustorius arenarius and the isopod Eurydice pulchra. The polychaete fauna is poor, dominated by Scolelepis squamata, which tolerates the exposed and mobile sediment conditions. The presence of polychaetes may be seen as coloured burrows running down from the surface of the sediment.
Situation: This biotope may be present on the lower shore, where units MA5-231, MA5-2332, or MA5-2331 are present higher up. Where this unit occurs on the mid shore in relatively sheltered conditions, unit MA5-241 may be present on the lower shore. Unit MA5-211 may be present where driftlines of fucoids and other debris occur on the upper shore.
Temporal variation: This biotope may change to unit MA5-2332, which is very similar in character, if P. arenarius decreases in abundance. Winter storms may reduce the number of or temporarily remove macroinvertebrates from exposed sandy beaches, with the sediment becoming re-colonised during the summer months.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code MA52333
Relation to Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Invertebrates Bathyporeia pelagica
Invertebrates Eurydice pulchra
Invertebrates Haustorius arenarius
Invertebrates Pontocrates arenarius
Invertebrates Scolelepis squamata
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Bathyporeia pelagica Invertebrates
Eurydice pulchra Invertebrates
Haustorius arenarius Invertebrates
Pontocrates arenarius Invertebrates
Scolelepis squamata Invertebrates

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 2007 (revised descriptions 2012) A2.2233 Pontocrates arenarius in littoral mobile sand same
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type Comment
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A2.2233 Pontocrates arenarius in littoral mobile sand same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A2.2442 Pontocrates arenarius in littoral mobile sand same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A2.2442 Burrowing amphipods Pontocrates spp. and Bathyporeia spp. in lower shore clean sand same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A2.2142 Burrowing amphipods Pontocrates spp. and Bathyporeia spp. in lower shore clean sand same
MNCR BioMar 97.06 (Britain & Ireland) LGS.S.AP.Pon Burrowing amphipods Pontocrates spp. and Bathyporeia spp. in lower shore clean sand same
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