Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Friday, February 3, 2012

Giant Amphipods

Scientists in New Zealand have discovered some very large species of marine amphipods. You can see pictures in this article, which describes the nearly foot-long creatures as "shrimplike":

I think that this is interesting, because we have freshwater amphiopods in Kentucky, and they look very similar to the ones discovered in New Zealand except that they are much smaller. Our freshwater versions are often called "scuds" or "sideswimmers," and they do indeed look a lot like tiny shrimp, and are even sometimes called "freshwater shrimp" even though they are not really very closely related to the "freshwater prawns" (a.k.a. shrimp) that you might eat at dinner. (Shrimp and amphipods are actually in totally different scientific orders. These means that they are considered to be about as closely related to one another as a dog is to a horse.)

You can read about the non-giant, freshwater versions of amphipods here (and look for them in your local creek or stream--they are probably there!):

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