BIOTIC Species Information for Capitella capitata
Researched byLizzie Tyler Data supplied byUniversity of Sheffield
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandReported from all coasts of Britain and Ireland.
Global distributionLocated on European coasts from the Arctic to the Mediterranean and widespread around Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional Information
  • Bolam & Fernandes (2002) and Shull (1997) noted that Capitella capitata can colonize azoic sediments rapidly in relatively high numbers. Shull (1997) also demonstrated that this occurs by larval settlement, bedload transport and by burrowing.
  • Capitella capitata has been recorded in high numbers in areas of organic enrichment; where sewage inputs (Bridges, 1996; Holte & Oug, 1996; Cardell et al., 1998, Thom & Chew, 1979) and fish farms (Karakassis et al., 2000) were present. They have also been recorded in areas where sediments contain high concentrations of metals and hydrocarbons (Ward & Young, 1982; Olsgard, 1999; Petrich & Reish, 1979).
  • The species occurs in the seaward portions of estuaries (salinities >18 ppt) and under corresponding conditions in non-tidal brackish waters (Barnes, 1994).
  • Lugworms have been found to have a strongly negative effect on the juvenile densities of Capitella capitata (Flach, 1991).

Substratum preferencesFine clean sand
Muddy sand
Sandy mud
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Strait / sound
Enclosed coast / Embayment
Biological zoneUpper Eulittoral
Mid Eulittoral
Lower Eulittoral
Sublittoral Fringe
Wave exposureInsufficient information
Tidal stream strength/Water flowInsufficient information
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Variable (18-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Petrich & Reish, 1979, Ward & Young, 1982, Bridges, 1996, Olsgard, 1999, Bolam & Fernandes, 2002, Barnes, 1994, Holte & Oug, 1996, Thom & Chew, 1979, Karakassis et al., 2000, Flach, 1991, Shull, 1997, Cardell et al., 1998,
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