In summer 1985-1991, the intertidal zone of the Svalbard archipelago was sampled in 242 localities. Thirty seven laxa of macrofauna and 22 of macrophytes were considered as littoral zone inhabitants. Four major littoral assemblages are described: Fucus-Balanus, Gammarus, Onisimus and Oligochaeta communities. More than 80% of the investigated coast is occupied by the Oligochaeta assemblage with mean biomass values less than 1 kJ/m². The richest benthos was found at Fucus-Balanus sites (8% of the coast line) with biomass values exceeding 2000 kJ/m². The southern tip of Spitsbergen is part of a major zoogeographical border in the littoral fauna distribution. Subarctic species like barnacles, periwinkles and Gammarus oceanieus predominate on the western coast whereas, on the Arctic East coast barren beaches, G. setosus predomination was found.