Mayerella banksia (Laubitz, 1970)
Common name: Skeleton Shrimp
|Mayerella banksia collected at Rosario Bay among drift algae.|
|Photo by: Christina Smith, June2002|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Amphipods within the suborder Caprellidea are all relatively similar, although they are easier to differentiate between than the rest of the amphipods. A dissecting microscope is necessary in order to tell the differences between Caprellidea.
Geographical Range: Temperate areas
Depth Range: Intertidal
Habitat: These amphipods are intertidal and commonly found among small algal clumps.
Biology/Natural History: These are among the most
bizarre and interesting amphipods. These elongate animals bear clinging
feet at both the forward and the rear ends. Most of the body consists
of elongate thoracic segments; the abdomen is much reduced. These
animals have gills on the fourth and fifth pairs of thoracic segments only.
They remind one of a praying mantis, partly because of their general form
and partly because of the appearance of their prehensile first and second
legs. It is interesting to watch their looping movements: they attach
themselves by their more anterior legs as they let go with the legs that
are in the rear portion of the body; then, after bringing the hind end
forward, they attach themselves by the rear legs again. They may
remain motionless much of the time. Some of the caprellids associated
with hydroids nip off the polyps and eat them; others feed mostly on diatoms
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Morris et al (1980)