The tube building polychaete Lanice conchilega is a common and ecologically important species in intertidal and shallow subtidal sands. It builds a characteristic tube with ragged fringes and can retract rapidly into its tube to depths of more than 20 cm. Therefore, it is very difficult to sample L. conchilega individuals, especially with a Van Veen grab. Consequently, many studies have used tube counts as estimates of real densities. This study reports on some aspects to be considered when using tube counts as a density estimate of L. conchilega, based on intertidal and subtidal samples. Due to its accuracy and independence of sampling depth, the tube method is considered the prime method to estimate the density of L. conchilega. However, caution is needed when analyzing samples with fragile young individuals and samples from areas where temporary physical disturbance is likely to occur.