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Amphipods

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Order Amphipoda

Appearance

Amphipods belong to an order comprised of over 7,000 species, their habitats, characteristics and feeding habits vary. Most members of the amphipod species have flat bodies with large, compound eyes on the sides of their heads. The majority of amphipods utilize a defense mechanism known as a tail flip, wherein they use their abdomens to propel themselves away from a predator.

Adult amphipods range from 5 to 20 mm in length.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

All amphipod species prefer moist habitats. Amphipods that live in water are primarily white, although some may also exhibit light brown, green, dark brown or black coloration. Most amphipods become red in color when they die. Amphipods can thrive in marine settings and on moist land. Other species are found in home gardens and beneath flowerpots.

Some amphipods are herbivores, while others are carnivores. Sand-, mud- and moist-soil-dwelling amphipods feed on bacteria. Other species are scavengers that feed on dead plants and animals.

Reproduction

Females lay their eggs inside a brood pouch where they remain until they hatch. Immature amphipods look like miniature versions of the adults. While most amphipod females produce a single generation of offspring, there are species that can produce several generations within a five-month period.

Signs of an Amphipod Infestation

There is only one main sign of amphipods: the amphipods themselves. They may be encountered in moist damp areas outside of the home or potentially inside after heavy raining periods where the soil and ground cover become saturated.