Australian Amphipoda: Ampeliscidae

J.K. Lowry, P.B. Berents and R.T. Springthorpe
Division of Invertebrate Zoology
The Australian Museum
6 College Street, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia
Phone: 612 9320 6260
Fax: 612 9320 6050

Email Roger Springthorpe


Lowry & Poore (1985) produced the only major work on Australian ampeliscid amphipods. In this paper they described 15 new species and redescribed the two existing species. Of the 17 species known from Australian waters, all but one are reported from the south-eastern area. Four species are known from the north-east and one from southern Australia. No species have been reported from the south-western, north-western or northern areas. Three of the four ampeliscid genera are reported from Australian waters. There are 12 species of Ampelisca; 4 species of Byblis; and 1 species of Haploops.

Ampeliscid amphipods are nearly always found living in soft bottom habitats where they build parchment-like tubes and may occur in dense concentrations. They are normally suspension feeders.

All known Australian species are endemic and currently confined to the eastern seaboard. But ampeliscids are one of the most diverse groups of amphipods. We suspect that there are at least 80 species of ampeliscids living in the bays and on the continental shelves and slopes of Australia. Users, particularly of the interactive key, should be aware that the possibilty of unreported taxa appearing in samples, particularly from areas outside of south-eastern Australia, is high.

This study is based on collections held in the Australian Museum, Sydney (AM), the Bristish Musuem (Natural History), London (BMNH), the Museum of Victoria, Melbourne (NMV) and the Queensland Museum, Brisbane (QM). The following abbreviations are used on the plates: A, antenna; C, coxa; E, epistome; EP, epimeron; G, gnathopod; H, head; MD, mandible; MP, maxilliped; MX, maxilla; OP, outer plate; P, peraeopod; p, palp; T, telson; U, uropod; UR, urosomite.

This publication should be cited as : Lowry, J.K., P.B. Berents & R.T. Springthorpe, 2000. Australian Amphipoda: Ampeliscidae. Version 1: 2 October 2000.