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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

This sand hopper spends the day buried in the sand at depths of 10-30 cm, well above the high water mark. It emerges at night to feed on decaying seaweed and other vegetation along the strandline (2). Adults spend the winter in a dormant state above the spring tide high water mark, buried in the substrate at depths of up to 50cm (2). Burrowing into sand means that the sand hopper escapes desiccation (2). Juveniles are unable to burrow, so they retreat to recently deposited seaweed instead, where humidity is relatively high (2). Like all crustaceans, the sand hopper's reproduction is tied closely to the moult cycle. Adults form pairs and mate after the female moults; most reproductive activity takes place between May and August. The female carries the fertilised eggs around in a brood pouch. Juveniles reach maturity by autumn, but do not breed until the summer of the following year (2). Females live for around 18 months, and die during their second winter. Males on average live to around 21 months, dying after the females (2).
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Description

Sand-hoppers are so called because of their ability to leap when disturbed; they do so by tucking in the tail, and rapidly flicking it out (2). Talitrus saltator is greyish-green in colour, with black eyes (3). One antenna is always much longer and thicker than the other (2).
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High tide leaves flotsam behind on the beach, at the flood-mark. That's just the spot to find sand hoppers. They usually crawl around under the debris to prevent dehydration during the day. If you stand on or tilt up a pile of old seaweed on the beach, large numbers will jump away. They can 'hop' a distance of 1 meter, so you understand where they got their name. Although you often find them on the beach, they are also good swimmers. There are a several species of sand hoppers found in the Netherlands.
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Comprehensive Description

Description

 Talitrus saltator is an active supralittoral sand-hopper, growing up to 20 mm in length. It has a typical gammaridean body-plan, dorso-laterally compressed with three main divisions, head, pereon (thorax) and pleon (abdomen), both pereon and pleon are segmented and smooth. Antennae are distinct and one is much longer and robust than the other. Eyes are round and black, the body being grey-brown in colour.An extensive review of the Talitridae was published by Bulycheva (1957) in which the concept of the family was reconsidered and a number of genera removed to newly erected families, Hyalidae and Hyalellidae. The separation provides a convenient ecological grouping with the truly terrestrial genera in the Talitridae, a family consisting of five genera (Talitrus, Orchestia, Talorchestia, Talitroides and Brevitalitrus), all of which are recorded in the British Isles. Talitrus are a small circumtropical genus comprising about 10 recognized species but Talitrus saltator is the only species that extends into the north east Atlantic area (Lincoln, 1979).
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Distribution

North-East Altantic
  • Hayward, P.J.; Ryland, J.S. (Ed.) (1990). The marine fauna of the British Isles and North-West Europe: 1. Introduction and protozoans to arthropods. Clarendon Press: Oxford, UK. ISBN 0-19-857356-1. 627 pp.
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Talitrus saltator in Ireland

Talitrus saltator was recorded from 50 sites in 14 maritime Irish counties; Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Londonderry, Antrim, Down. Preferred habitats were clean beaches.

  • Hudson, Anne V. and Reynolds, Julian D. 1984). Distribution of Irish intertidal Talitridae. Bulletin of the Irish biogeographical Society, 8, 63-76.
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Range

Common on all coasts of Britain (2), this sand hopper is also known from Ireland, the north east Atlantic, the North Sea, and around European coasts, from Norway to the Mediterranean (2).
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Ecology

Habitat

 Talitrus saltator is a supralittoral amphipod usually found beneath or amongst debris and decaying algae deposited at the high water mark or during the day it may be buried at depths between 10-30 cm in the substratum.
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Depth range based on 62 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 14 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 5.3
  Temperature range (°C): 11.471 - 12.348
  Nitrate (umol/L): 4.729 - 7.121
  Salinity (PPS): 35.035 - 35.363
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.069 - 6.339
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.336 - 0.439
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.315 - 3.388

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 5.3

Temperature range (°C): 11.471 - 12.348

Nitrate (umol/L): 4.729 - 7.121

Salinity (PPS): 35.035 - 35.363

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.069 - 6.339

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.336 - 0.439

Silicate (umol/l): 2.315 - 3.388
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Found on sandy shores in association with decaying seaweed (3).
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Associations

Known predators

Talitrus saltator is prey of:
Platichthys flesus

Based on studies in:
Scotland (Estuarine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Hall SJ, Raffaelli D (1991) Food-web patterns: lessons from a species-rich web. J Anim Ecol 60:823–842
  • Huxham M, Beany S, Raffaelli D (1996) Do parasites reduce the chances of triangulation in a real food web? Oikos 76:284–300
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Talitrus saltator

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 32 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

TAT---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------GTTCTTACTCAAGAGACCGGTAAAAAA---GAAACCTTTGGTTCATTGGGTATAATTTATGCTATATTAGCTATTGGTATTCTAGGTTTTATTGTTTGAGCTCATCATATATTCACAGTAGGAATAGATGTAGATACTCGAGCTTATTTTACATCAGCTACAATAATTATTGCGGTACCTACAGGTATTAAAGTATTTAGTTGATTAGGT---ACTTTACAAGGAGGA---AAACTAAACTTTTCCCCTTCTATATTATGAGCCCTAGGGTTCATTTTCTTATTTACTATTGGTGGTTTAACTGGTGTGATACTTGCCAACTCCTCAATTGATATTGTTTTACATGATACATATTATGTTGTAGCCCATTTTCATTATGTTCTT
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Talitrus saltator

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 26
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Status

Common and widespread.
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Threats

Not currently threatened.
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Management

Conservation

Conservation action has not been targeted at this species.
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Wikipedia

Talitrus saltator

Talitrus saltator, a species of sand hopper, is a common amphipod crustacean of sandy coasts around Europe. The animal's typical "hopping" movement gives the animal its common name, and is produced by a flexion of the abdomen.[3] In order to do this, it must stand on its legs (amphipods usually rest on their sides) and suddenly extend its abdomen out from under its body.[4] It can thus leap several inches into the air,[5] although without any control over its direction.[4] A great deal of scientific research has been carried out on the animal, to determine the environmental cues it uses to control its behaviour.[4]

Description[edit source | edit]

Talitrus saltator reaches lengths between 8.2 mm (0.32 in) and 16.5 mm (0.65 in), with males being slightly larger than females.[4] The body is greyish-brown or greyish-green in colour,[4][6] with a single pair of black eyes. It has a distinct pair of antennae, with one antenna more robust than the other.[6]

Distribution[edit source | edit]

Talitrus saltator is found around the coasts of the North Sea and north-east Atlantic Ocean from southern Norway to the Mediterranean Sea. In most of its range, its daily cycle is strongly linked to the tides, with daily migrations of up to 100 m (328 ft), but where there are no significant tides (as in parts of the Mediterranean), visual cues are used instead.[4]

Life cycle[edit source | edit]

Mating occurs in T. saltator once the photoperiod exceeds 14 hours; this is in contrast to other shoreline animals such as isopods which use air temperature or sea temperature to control breeding times. Mating occurs during the animal's nightly migration down the beach, after the female has moulted. Broods of 13–15 eggs are carried by the females. When they first hatch, juveniles are sensitive to desiccation but are unable to burrow, and so they live in washed up seaweed with a humidity of 85%–90%. Although the juveniles become sexually differentiated within a few months, they do not contribute to the second reproductive wave later in the year, but first reproduce the following year. Females die before the males, in their second winter (males live for 21 months, compared to 18 months for females). During the winter, adults burrow into the sand until they reach a moisture content of 2%; this may require them to dig up to 50 cm (20 in) deep.[4]

Ecology[edit source | edit]

Talitrus saltator spends the day buried at depths of 10–30 cm (4–12 in) above the strandline, but emerges at night on the falling tide to feed. Their diet is composed chiefly of the rotting seaweed which accumulates on the strandline.[3] T. saltator is an important food source for shore birds.[4]

References[edit source | edit]

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