Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Guide to New Zealand's freshwater invertebrates

Amphipods ( Melitidae : Melita )

Diagnostic features

Melita awa is an amphipod commonly found in coastal streams with some sea water intrusion. This species is strongly laterally compressed (as if squashed from the sides). The antennae are long, particularly the 1st (upper) antennae.

Typical habitats

Melita is primarily an estuarine genus, but they may venture upstream into fresh waters.


Melita are likely to feed on organic biofilms growing on estuarine sediments.

Indicator value

The presence of Melita probably indicates sea water influence more than other aspects of water quality. They have not been assigned tolerance values, but the general amphipod values are 5 (hard bottom sites) and 5.5 (soft bottom sites).