Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Branchiostoma lanceolatum - Lancelet

Habitat & Distribution

The only British species in this group, it is found burrowing in clean shell-gravel and sand in shallow to deep water. It has a south-western distribution and is mainly found off the south-west coast as far north as Anglesey. It is also recorded on the east coast of England, the coasts of south-western and northern Ireland, and Dorset. Classically this species is known from inside and outside of Plymouth Sound and on the Eddystone Grounds in south-east Cornwall. More recently it has been found in good numbers in the Falmouth Estuary and Falmouth Bay. There is an old record from St. Ives Bay on the north coast.


Dredging operations for dead maerl, amongst which the Lancelet is often found.


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.

Cornish Biodiversity Network. 2017.