Soft Seabed Animals
Peacock Worm (Photo: Paul Tyler)
Many of the animals found on the shore are also common on the seabed below the tides. Lugworms, sandmason worms, razor shells and many other burrowing bivalves are also numerous on muddy or sandy seabeds. However there are many animals living here that are not seen on the shore. Some of the most spectacular ones are described here.
Life on a muddy seabed
The fine mud on the seabed indicates that the water movement is gentle here, little affected by the waves and only washed by slow-moving tides. Animals that aren't actively moving about will usually be anchored in the sediment, and most have the ability to withdraw down into the mud if danger threatens. The gentle water movement allows some animals to deploy delicate feeding structures which are spread wide to catch food particles that drift by. These animals however have no defence against fishing gear, are easily damaged by trawls that are dragged across the seabed.
Sandy and muddy seabeds often contain large numbers of burrowing bivalves (molluscs with 2 matching shells). Many of these are also found on the shore - see muddy and sandy shores section.
by Paul TylerNext Section