Forest Hopper or "Carpet Prawn"

Talitroides topitotum

Identification

Forest Hooper, Talitroides topitotum

The common Forest (or Land) Hoppers belong to a group called the Amphipoda. Amphipods are typically small with narrow elongated bodies flattened from side-to-side. Most live in the sea, and terrestrial forms are often mistaken for insects. Grow to about 7 mm.

Notes

Normally found in forests and suburban gardens, where they live under logs, mulch, and leaf litter. Each summer on warm moist nights, following periods of rain, they often emerge in large numbers to invade low-set homes, pet’s bowls, swimming pools, and other alien human environments only to dry out and die with the morning sun. In their natural environment they feed on micro-organisms in the soil and contribute to the decomposition of the forest floor. They are harmless to both humans and their pets.

Originally described from Sri Lanka, but now widespread in warm temperate climates across the Indo-Pacific region; common in eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland.

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