How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Excirolana vancouverensis has a rounded tip on its angular telson. Excirolana linguifrons has a broadly rounded or truncate tip to the telson and reaches only 4 mm in length.
Geographical Range: British Columbia to Half Moon Bay, CA
Depth Range: Intertidal
Habitat: Sandy beaches.
Biology/Natural History: These isopods alternately bury themselves in the sand and actively forage for dead animal matter. They seem to be especially active in the shallow swash of retreating waves on sandy beaches. Large numbers may quickly congregate around an animal carcass that washes in on a sandy beach while it is still in the water, and quickly strip the carcass of flesh. This is the most common Excirolana species along the Washington coast. Predators include sanderlings.
Note: Very few crustaceans will actually bite you
but this nasty
little creature is definitely one of them. Barefoot waders in
area with Excirolana
find that the animals quickly swim toward and swarm over bare feet,
them so hard that blood will be flowing within moments. Since
animals are so small the bites are tiny but painful like a pin prick,
the animals are often present in swarms of thousands. Rapidly
the feet reduces but does not eliminate the number of bites.
Kozloff 1987, 1996
Smith and Carlton, 1975
General Notes and
abundances, unusual behaviors:
I have seen (and felt!) this species on sandy beaches of the
such as Kalaloch beaches, 2nd and 3rd beach, and Shi Shi beach.
This closeup ventral view of the head shows the hardened,
(mandibles) and the first several pereopods. The maxillae and
maxillipeds are light colored and lie between the mandibles and the
pereopods, which have small dark hooklike dactyls. The first
is has a simple dactyl and is neither chelate nor subchelate.
that the eyes are lateral and can easily be seen from the ventral
The spatulate rostrum can be seen protruding between the antennae.
Notice that both rami of the uropods have flattened plates. Some of the terminal setae from the uropods are projecting beyond the telson.
Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2007): Created original page
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