sandhopper

anonymous asked:

What are those little orange bugs you just posted? They are cool.

I sadly am having trouble finding the exact species but they were a type of amphipods (a diverse group of crustaceans)

I actually got to see some today at a beach in the form of sandhoppers, which are the little shrimps guys you will sometimes find in the sand that tend to hop (as the name implies)

Mexorchestia carpenteri carpenteri

Wakulla County, Florida

These guys are seemingly the most common talitrid (sandhopper) in the panhandle area. I collected this guy by simply walking up to some beach debris disturbing it, and opening a vial, he jumped right in!

Surprisingly this species wasn’t formally described until 2014! It was previously known as “Tethorchestia sp. B.” a distinct species of Tethorchestia that probably is distinct enough for its own genus. Which was true and now the gulf coast has a proper name to put on this handsome species! 

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Sandroos

These intelligent mammals hail from arid deserts and savannah regions. Sandroos share the characteristic plated bodies, long necks/ears, and wide tails. They have 4 claws on each hand, and 3 rounded toenails on each foot. They generally have poor eyesight but make up for it with their incredible hearing. You can always count on a Sandroo to hear something you probably didn’t want them to hear so be careful what you say around them! They have a wicked kick and are excellent at hopping across dunes which would otherwise be untreversible. Many other races refer to them as “Sandhoppers.”

A typical Sandroo home is square in shape and made from sandstone. They will often create awnings made from cloth to drape over the front as decoration. The windows are narrow to keep out the sand but still allow airflow.

Most Sandroos that you meet will be wary of you at first, but are quick to extend their trust if you have goods to trade with them. Many of them will never leave their farms and spend most of their time defending it from thieves and bandits. Farming is a tiresome and thankless task but they take great pride in it.

Sandroos are excellent cultivators of the desert and are incredibly skilled at growing crops in the sand. They have a penchant for earth-based magic which is used almost exclusively for tending to their farms. Probably their most prized crop is the Water Melon. No, not watermelon. Water Melon:

This odd fruit has a jelly-like texture. It jiggles in the hand, and when bitten into can be quite messy. It has a sweet flavor and is remarkably cool and refreshing. They make fantastic jams, and are also mixed into drinks for a nice flavor.

Raffas

Tall and wooly animals with moderate intelligence. Incapable of linguistics and have mostly primal instincts. They live and travel in herds. Their long necks allow them to reach the precious fruits atop Cactus trees.

Quite often, Sandroos and other desert dwellers will keep them domestically and use their wool for clothing. That might seem strange for such a hot climate, but Raffa wool has a very special cooling property unlike any other. The fibers are filled with ice magic that reacts proportionately to the heat. The hotter it is, the cooler the fibers. It’s not unusual to see desert dwellers wearing this specially made clothing.

#627 - Talitrid Amphipods - Lawn Prawns

One of our local crustaceans. Not something I get many complaints about, because the only way they’ll survive in a house is if there’s a major moisture problem. Most amphipods can’t survive out of water, but the Talitrid sandhoppers on the beach and landhoppers even further inland can be fully terrestrial.

Terrestrial amphipods are quite diverse in Australia, usually living in leaf litter. The ones you’re most likely to find in your garden are translucent dark drown when alive, but turn pink-red after they die, like the ones in the photo above. Rarely above a centimeter in length.

Sandhopper, Taletridae family
3 of 30 in tidepool series, 7.May.2014

I like to catch these little guys at the beaches when I go. I couldn’t find a good reference photo of a California species for this drawing, so the reference is the European Talitrus saltator. Oh well.

Incidentally, many people out here call them “sand crabs”. They are crustaceans, but not crabs (no claws!)– they’re in a different order called amphipods, marked by the long legs and antennae.