Coast & Sea Areas

Wild Harris

Soft Seabed Animals

peacock worm in sand.jpgPeacock 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.  

Worms

LugwormPeacock WormSea MouseSea Pens 

Burrowing sea anemone (Cerianthus)

Mollusca

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.

Cockles, Razor Shell and other burrowing bivalves.

Crustaceans

Brown or Edible CrabMasked CrabOrange Swimming CrabPrawnSpider CrabSquat LobsterStone Crab

Echinoderms

Common starfishFringed starfishHeart urchinSand brittle starSand starSea cucumberSea HareSpiny sun star

Fish

Angler FishFlatfish

by Paul Tyler

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