Amphipoda sandhoppers scuds and skeleton shrimps

The amphipods are the most speciose of the peracarids with more than 6000 species worldwide. They can be recognised by their (usually) laterally compressed body, biramous antennules and three pairs of uropods. On the GBR, about 200 species are known from depths shallower than 50 m, of which 80% are yet to be formally named, and this all from near Lizard Island in the far northern section of the Reef. Thus, many more species can be expected from the GBR overall. The three major Suborders of Amphipoda (Gammaridea, Hyperiidea and Caprellidea) each have a very distinctive appearance. The majority of amphipods are gammarideans (Fig. 23.1/, K), commonly known as scuds and sandhop-pers (for terrestrial species), and these are the most familiar form. Gammarideans have a relatively deep, curved body that is obviously laterally compressed; they are the most accomplished swimmers of the Am-phipoda, and can 'scuttle', 'skip' and 'flick' their bodies to escape capture. Gammarideans live in almost every habitat on the GBR—among rubble, boulders, coral and algae, and sometimes in association with hydroids, as-cidians and sponges. Some are predatory, some scavenge, and others graze on algae and detritus. The hyperiideans resemble gammarideans with a swollen head and long slender legs. Unlike gammarideans, however, hyperiideans are seldom seen on the reef because they are oceanic creatures that live inside salps or on jellyfish. The caprellideans (Fig. 23.1L), or skeleton shrimps, are so named because of the very slender, stick-like body. They can be seen standing upright with forelimbs spread out whilst clinging by their posterior legs to algae or hy-droids. They crawl with a somewhat looping motion by alternately using their anterior and posterior limbs. Though appearing very different from gammarideans, caprellideans probably represent a highly specialised lineage that arose from within the Gammaridea.

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