Scottish Sea Creatures - Crustacean - Sea Slater
(Ligia oceanica) - Isopods
The sea slater looks much like an insect but is actually a sea creature - a species that is related to the woodlice family.
They can be seen along the shore and can be seen running across the rocks. They are actually crustaceans - Isopoda (iso meaning "same" and pod meaning "foot") There are up to 10,000 species of isopod around the world. Half of the isopods live in the sea, the other half live on the land or in fresh water like ponds, lakes and rivers.
Description of The Sea Slater
The Sea Slater or Common Sea Slater (Ligia oceanica) is a crustacean related to the woodlice. This sea creature - or crustacean, looks like a large woodlouse. The flattened body has seven pairs of legs, two large antennae and protective plates along the back.
It can be up to 3 cm in length and is greyish/green in colour with pale markings. It also has 2 uropod projections at end of abdomen. It has large eyes - (as an be seen on the photo above) which are similar to the compound eye of insects. The body of the creature is twice as long as it is wide.
The sea slaters have at least 10 segments on antennal flagellum. 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 which is why they need periodic immersion in water. Unlike periwinkles, ammonia is excreted as their main excretory product.
The pale regions of the body are where shedding of the exoskeleton occurs. Diet Their diet consisting of shore debris such as decaying seaweed and encrusting diatoms and feeds during the evening
Sea slaters are recyclers – they help to keep the shore tidy by eating dead plant and animal material washed up on the shore.
Behaviour - Sea Slaters
Sea slaters are Marine Creatures that can run up to 1mph During the day sea slaters hide under stones and seaweed and in cracks in the rock. Its in the evenings when they are active - searching for food. This probably so as during the daytime there would almost certainly be more predators - like birds around. At night they become pale coloured as their pigment cells contract - such so that they cant be seen as easily. Sea slaters are active animals and can run at about 1 mph
This crustacean lives particularly around the rocks. It is limited to damp environments because it has gills (but does not live in water). It lives on land above the high water mark.
The sea slaters live for up to 3 years - but only breed in the third year.
Breeding takes place in spring and summer. Most sea slaters only breed the once in their third year of life. Once the pair have mated, the female carries the eggs around in a pouch.
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|