title for amphipod section of A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY
subtitle for amphipod section of A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY

photograph of whale lice Cyamus sp. on the skin of a stranded juvenile humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliaeAmphipods most commonly seen intertidally grazing on algae are mostly gammarids, while those most noticeable subtidally are caprellids. There are about 35 families of west-coast gammarid amphipods, comprising several hundred species. So-called whale "lice" are found intertidally only on the occasion of a whale stranding, and then only temporarily.

NOTE  common names for intertidal amphipods are “beachhoppers" or "beach fleas”; for supratidal/semiterrestrial species, “sandhoppers or sand fleas”; and for terrestrial species, “landhoppers”.  Most or all species inhabiting the high intertidal and supratidal shore regions are talitrids, as are all terrestrial forms.  The terms “supratidal” and “semiterrestrial” are used synonymously in the ODYSSEY to refer to the zone above the reach of the highest tides, but still influenced by them, such as by spray, and gradients of moisture and salt.  “Terrestrial” refers to habitats independent of the sea


Dead whale lice Cyamus boopis on the skin of a humpback whale Magaptera novaeangliae
stranded at White Rock, British Columbia June 2012. The 2 large ones are males,
while the larger of the smaller ones may be female. The smallest individual is an
instar stage. The 3 pairs of posterior walking legs are adapted with claws for
attachment. Whale lice may number in the 10s of thousands on a single whale. They
feed on the whale's skin and possibly also on phytoplankton. The soft brown
appendages visible are gills 2X. Rowntree 1996 Can J Zool 74: 103

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To learn about west-coast AMPHIPODS: select a topic from the amphipod menu at the top of the page

OR: play the ANIMATION of the snail meeting the AMPHIPOD

OR, if you want to see other animations: follow the snail on its ODYSSEY by CLICKING on any X-marked invertebrate on the map


© 2010 Thomas Carefoot


map for amphipod part of A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY
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Phylum Arthropoda (lit. “jointed legs” G.)

Subphylum Crustacea (lit. “crust or rind, characterised by” L.), referring to the hard calcified exoskeleton

Class Malacostraca includes all the “advanced” crustaceans

Order Amphipoda (lit. “on both sides”  “feet” G.)

      SubOrder Gammaridea (lit. “a kind of lobster” L.)

Family Talitridae (lit, "to strike with the finger"), including semiterrestrial species such as Traskorchestia spp. and Megalorchestia spp.

Family Corophiidae, including about 2 dozen species of burrow-inhabiting, deposit-feeding species

Family Oedicerotidae, including small (3-6mm) burrow-inhabiting forms, favouring wave-surge areas, such as Americehelidium spp.

SubOrder Caprellidea (lit. "goat" G.)

Family Caprellidae is a large group that includes about 30 species (in California, and many more in other west-coast areas) with unusual morphology, behaviour, and feeding habits; found subtidally among hydroids and other bottom growth

Family Cyamidae constitute about 2 dozen species of whale lice, mostly in the genus Cyamus

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