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There are approximately 6,000 described species of amphipods worldwide. 
  • Roughly 1,200 species live in freshwater.
Amphipods have a diverse range of feeding strategies and can be any one of the below;
  • Herbivores (vegetarians) and eat only plants.
  • Carnivores (meat eaters) and eat other small organisms.
  • Scavengers and eat dead and decaying organic material.
  • Parasites which live on and feed off another animal such as a fish, which causes harm to the fish.

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  • Suspension feeders or filter feeders- using tiny hairs on their antennae or legs to strain the water and catch any detritus that is floating by in the water.
Freshwater amphipods can live in a range of conditions;
  • They can survive in shallow water areas and be found on vegetation, such as decaying leaves and aquatic plants, under rocks, on the sand, or burrowing deep into the sediment along the bottom.
  • They may also thrive at the bottoms of lakes which have less vegetation.
The lifespan of amphipods is usually about one year, but some species may live for over two years.  Amphipods use sexual reproduction methods, but mating habits vary broadly depending on species.
  • When mating, the male wraps part of his body around the female and releases sperm into a brood pouch, called a marsupium, where fertilization occurs.
  • Depending on the species, the eggs may hatch in anywhere from one to three weeks, and the newly hatched amphipods look like little adults 
  • They leave the pouch during the following one to eight days.
  • The number of eggs in each clutch depends upon the species, but can range anywhere from two to 750 eggs.
  • The breeding season can be extended with multiple broods produced, or it can be short with only result in a single brood .
Amphipods are eaten by many species of fish, making them an important species in the food chain.
  • They also play a significant role in recycling nutrients (by eating and then defecating) that can then be used by other members of the food chain.

Absolute Astronomy (2010). Amphipoda. Available here.
Animal Life Resource (2010). Amphipods. Available here.
Brusca, R. C, and Brusca, G. J., 2003. Invertebrates, 2nd ed. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Publishers, Massachusetts. Page 540.
Canada's Aquatic Environments (2002). Amphipoda. Available here.
University of Florida (2009). Amphidods. Available here