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Taxonomic group

Tanaidaceae: Sinelobus

Diagnostic features

Sinelobus (formerly Tanais) is one of the few freshwater members of the Order Tanaidaceae. The body is reminiscent of a slender isopod (and they are related), but in the tanaids the head and thorax are fused, and there are large chelipeds (pincers) on the second pair of legs. Sinelobus is small, at less than 4mm long.

Typical habitats

Sinelobus are found in the lower reaches of streams and rivers but there are also populations in the Rotorua lakes in the central North Island.


Marine tanaids feed on organic detritus and the associated micro-organisms, and it is assumed Sinelobus has a similar diet.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 4
  • Soft bottom: 6.8

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

Tanaids have a very patchy distribution, but they are known from rivers and lakes in largely farmland catchments. They have been assigned tolerance values of 4 (hard bottom sites) and 6.8 (soft bottom sites).