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Sand mason


up to 15 centimeters


tubes: white-sandy colored
animal: yellowish or orange-brown




gulls, shorebirds



  • Dut: Schelpkokerworm
  • Lat: Lanice conchilega
  • Eng: Sand mason
  • Ger: Bäumchenröhrenwurm, Muschelsammlerin
  • Dan: see Latin
Sand masons, Misjel Decleer, VLIZ

Sand mason

Sand masons live in tubes made from sand and shell grit, with a frayed opening. It sticks its head containing long white tentacles out of the tube to catch food particles in the water. Sometimes the tubes are so close together that they form reefs. They catch sand whereby sandy islands develop. These areas on the bottom of the North Sea are very desirable as hideouts for small marine animals. Other scavengers profit from the multitude of food that stays behind between the tubes.

  • Distribution and habitat

    Sand masons are found on low-lying sandy tidal banks and sandy bottoms in the Wadden Sea, the North Sea and the delta region as long as there is a current. This worm is found in massive numbers in the North Sea north and west of the Wadden Islands. Sometimes, there are 3000 animals per square meter!

  • What's it like to live in a tube?
    close-up Sand-mason, Wim de Bruin, NIOZ (

    Marine biologists take a closer look at many marine animals, including sand masons. That's not easy since these animals live mostly in the open sea. In the Bay of Boulogne in France, you also see them on the beach during ebb. This gives the scientists a chance to study the life of the sand mason.