Aim: Our primary aim is to understand how assemblages of rare (restricted range) and common (widespread) species are correlated with each other among different taxa. We tested the proposition that marine species richness patterns of rare and common species differ, both within a taxon in their contribution to the richness pattern of the full assemblage and among taxa in the strength of their correlations with each other. Location The UK intertidal zone. Methods: We used high-resolution marine datasets for UK intertidal macroalgae, molluscs and crustaceans each with more than 400 species. We estimated the relative contribution of rare and common species, treating rarity and commonness as a continuous spectrum, to spatial patterns in richness using spatial crosscorrelations. Correlation strength and significance was estimated both within and between taxa. Results: Common species drove richness patterns within taxa, but rare species contributed more when species were placed on an equal footing via scaling by binomial variance. Between taxa, relatively small sub-assemblages (fewer than 60 species) of common species produced the maximum correlation with each other, regardless of taxon pairing. Cross-correlations between rare species were generally weak, with maximum correlation occurring between small sub-assemblages in only one case. Cross-correlations between common and rare species of different taxa were consistently weak or absent. Main conclusions: Common species in the three marine assemblages were congruent in their richness patterns, but rare species were generally not. The contrast between the stronger correlations among common species and the weak or absent correlations among rare species indicates a decoupling of the processes driving common and rare species richness patterns. The internal structure of richness patterns of these marine taxa is similar to that observed for terrestrial taxa.