Kaikoura – Sandhoppers – Talorchestia quoyana

Posted By Allan Burgess On With 0 Comments

This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Allan Burgess 6 months ago.

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  • #51057

    Allan Burgess
    Keymaster

    Passing along the Kaikoura coast last February I noticed gulls lining the beach for many kilometers. I stopped at Oaro for a closer look. The gulls were feeding on these small shrimp-like crustations. Each one was about 15mm long and gray in colour. When I bend down to pick them up they would jump like a grasshopper. The sea was still discoloured after a southerly blow. I don’t know if this is relevant to why there were so many of them being washed ashore with each wave.

    The gulls where having a feast quickly picking them off as each wave receeded. The sample that I took back with me (pictured) is possibly a bit cooked. When still alive they were grayish to almost transparent and quite hard to see until they jumped. When you think how many gulls there were feeding on them along the beach there must have been millions of them!

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    #51136

    yellowfin
    Participant

    Just letting everyone know , the Kaikoura surf casting comp in on next Sunday , the 3rd of Jan , starting at 8am

    #51990

    Allan Burgess
    Keymaster

    Shags and Gulls off Oaro Beach, Kaikoura, May 2016. They were after something innthe water. But I’m not sure what it was.

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    #59038

    Allan Burgess
    Keymaster

    Sandhoppers
    I’m sure these little creatures are in fact sandhoppers Talorchestia quoyana. They are a brownish grey colour which makes them quite hard to see on a stony beach. Their bodies, which are up to 14mm in length, are compressed from side to side like other amphipods. The one shown in the picture above was a specimen I took home in a film canister and photographed later by which time it had lost its brownish grey translucence and become opaque. They leap or jump when you try to pick them up hence their name sandhoppers. They bury themselves in the sand during the day and come out to feed at night. I suspect the rough surf at Oaro had washed them from their burrows into the sea where they became a feast for culls.
    Here is a .pdf with good info on Sandhoppers

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