In the summer of 1997, 27 subtidal stations were quantitatively sampled in the Ría de Aldán. A total of 81770 individuals were collected, comprising 496 species. The distribution and composition of benthic assemblages was correlated to the sedimentary characteristics which, in turn, depend on the hydrodynamic features; those patterns are reflected in a sedimentary gradient present along the ria, which is characterized by an increasing grain size from the inner margins towards the mouth. Several faunal assemblages were determined through multivariate analyses and their composition is compared with that of several communities or facies previously described from similar sediments. The Venus fasciata community was present in clean coarse sediments of the outer ria, the Venus gallina and Tellina fabula-Tellina tenuis communities in the fine-sand bottoms at the centre and margins of the ria, a transition assemblage between the Venus fasciata and the Venus gallina communities in the medium-sand sediments, and a mix of species from the Syndosmya alba and the Amphiura communities in shallower and muddy sediments in the inner areas. In general, subtidal sediments of the Ría de Aldán showed a high benthic diversity which is related to the great sedimentary heterogeneity and the lack of significant anthropogenic alterations.