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The Seashore

Sea Slater (Ligia oceanica)

isopod crustaceans

These are isopod crustaceans and a type of giant woodlice up to 25-30 mm long.

They come out mainly at night, thus avoiding predators and desiccation. They are nocturnal scavengers on anything washed in by the tide especially detritus and decaying seaweed. When the situation arises they will also be carnivorous. They are fast moving animals and live most of their life out of water. Despite this they do not have an air breathing system but still rely on gills, thus they need periodic immersion in water. Unlike the periwinkles in this region, ammonia is excreted as their main excretory product. The pale regions of the body are where shedding of the exoskeleton occurs. They can live for up to 3 years.

The Sea Slater can be very abundant under flotsum washed in and caught on the strandline. They are therefore a splash zone and upper shore species and run quickly into crevices to hide. Widespread on most shores of Europe including the Mediterranean.

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