Sand Hopper

Sand Hopper

Sand Hoopers (also known as sand fleas) are found all around the British Isles and are thought to be extremely abundant. While there are hundreds of species of sand hopper found across the world the most common in Britain is the species Talitrus saltator. They have a segmented oval shaped body which is usually grey, yellow or greenish in colour with black eyes. Rear legs are much longer than front ones and antenna are non-symetrical with one being much longer than the other. Sand hoppers get their name from their ability to jump several inches into the air – an ability they use to both move around and avoid predators. Like the sea slater they live in the intertidal zone but require sandy, rather than rocky ground as they burrow into wet sand during daylight and are able to reach depths of up to 30cm. Sand hoppers will soon die if they dry out and must stay in wet sand close to the sea in order to survive. At night they emerge to feed on rotting and decomposing marine vegetation.

Sand hoppers are thought to play an important role in marine food webs. The vast majority of British sea fish which comes across sand hoppers will feed on this species as will sea birds which forage for food in the intertidal zone. Sand Hoppers are thought to live for up to two years.

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