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Amphipods (Paraleptamphopus)

Taxonomic group

Paraleptamphopidae: Paraleptamphopus

Diagnostic features

Paraleptamphopus is one of our most widespread and common freshwater amphipod genera. They are generally larger than Paracalliope, and they have particularly long first (upper) antennae. Some Paraleptamphopus species are pale when live or preserved, but Paraleptamphopus caeruleus is mostly dark blue. Eyes are present in P. caeruleus, but not in the pale Paraleptamphopus species.

Typical habitats

Paraleptamphopus are abundant in many slow-flowing, soft bottom streams around New Zealand.


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

Paraleptamphopus can be abundant in streams with moderate to good water quality. 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.