A 16 km stretch of the lower Vasishta Godavari estuary (lat. 16° 18′ N long. 81° 42′ E) was surveyed during October 1976–January 1978 to study the polychaete-sediment relationship. Mean high mid- and low water marks at six permanent stations were sampled for studying polychaete distribution as well as sediment characteristics. Sand fraction dominated stations I and II and the silt-clay per cent increased higher up the estuary. Organic matter in the estuary ranged from 0·1 to 4·2% and the amount is generally linked with the silt-clay fraction of the sediment. Depending upon their tolerance to the sediment composition polychaete species colonised different tidal levels. Carnivores were restricted to sandy substrata. For the detritus feeders, the influencing factor appears to be organic matter than the sediment composition.