UK Seas

Discover the wonderful sea creatures that inhabit the UK seas and shores

Know the name of the creature you are looking for?

UK seas is a guide to the fauna and flora found around UK coasts. While the majority of species are marine, some species are included that are regularly encountered on land by the coast, so you’ll find descriptions of non-marine species such as reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants as well.

Fan shell

Atrina fragilis


Molluscs, Shells


An enormous shell, over a foot in length, which lives with the narrow end of its shell submerged in the seabed so that only the shell opening is visible.

The fan shell produces a yellow thread which it uses to anchor itself to the seabed. This thread was once used in making luxurious goldweave fabrics. The fanshell is protected by law - if you spot one let MCS know straight away.


May occur in any soft muds and sand around the UK, even in very shallow water, but only a handful of records exist for what is now a very rare animal.


Subtidal, Seabed

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