Skip to content

Amphipods (Paracalliope)

Taxonomic group

Paracalliopiidae: Paracalliope

Diagnostic features

Paracalliope is probably our most widespread and common freshwater amphipod genus. These small amphipods are typically grey-green when live, but often pale or orange when preserved. An important distinguishing feature is that the last “walking leg” (pereiopod) ends with a few long hairs rather than a claw.

Typical habitats

Paracalliope are abundant in many lowland, slow-flowing weedy streams.


They are collector-gatherers, feeding on deposited organic matter and biofilms growing on submerged surfaces.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 5
  • Soft bottom: unassigned; general amphipod value 5.5

The tolerance values (ranging from 0 to 10) give an indication of which are the sensitive taxa (values of 8 or more) and which are the tolerant taxa (values of 3 or less). For more information see: Indicator species

Paracalliope can be abundant in streams with a wide range of water qualities. They have a hard bottom tolerance value of 5, but no soft bottom value has been assigned for this genus. The general amphipod soft bottom tolerance value is 5.5.