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Amphipods (Talitridae)

Taxonomic group

Family: Talitridae

Diagnostic features

The Talitridae is a family that includes some relatively large terrestrial and freshwater amphipod species. When live they are typically grey-green or brown, but when preserved they are often orange. The 2nd (lower) antennae are much longer and broader than the 1st (upper) antennae.

Typical habitats

We often find talitrids in small, soft-bottom streams under bush cover.


Terrestrial talitrids are shredders, eating dead plant material, and this is likely to be the case for the freshwater species.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: unassigned; general amphipod value 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

Talitrids can be common in small bush-covered streams with little flow, much decomposing plant matter and limited dissolved oxygen. The family has not been assigned tolerance values, but the general amphipod values are 5 (hard bottom sites) and 5.5 (soft bottom sites).