BIOTIC Species Information for Gammarus insensibilis
Researched byNicola White Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr Martin Sheader
Scientific nameGammarus insensibilis Common nameLagoon sand shrimp
MCS CodeS476 Recent SynonymsNone

PhylumCrustacea Subphylum
Superclass ClassEumalacostraca
SubclassPeracarida OrderAmphipoda
SuborderGammaridea FamilyGammaridae
GenusGammarus Speciesinsensibilis

Additional InformationAs the species is morphologically close to Gammarus locusta it may be under-recorded in parts of its range.
Taxonomy References Howson & Picton, 1997, Lincoln, 1979, Sheader & Sheader, 1985, Sheader & Sheader, 1987,
General Biology
Growth formArticulate
Feeding methodHerbivore
Environmental positionEpifaunal
Typical food typesChaetomorpha HabitFree living
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityLow (10-45 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeSmall(1-2cm)
HeightInsufficient information Growth RateInsufficient information
Adult dispersal potential100-1000m DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationThis species is often found in dense populations.
Biology References
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandIn England, distribution is restricted to the central southern coast with two isolated east coast sites. Not recorded west of Fleet in Dorset and is absent from the lagoons of Cornwall.
Global distributionSouth from the English Channel along the Atlantic coasts of Europe to the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth rangeRestricted to depth of lagoons; 2-3 m max.
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional Information
  • Distribution is restricted to southern parts of England and probably represents the northern limit of the species' range. Found in Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Isle of Wight, Essex and Kent in the south and isolated sites in Lincolnshire and Suffolk on the east coast.
  • The species was present in Widewater lagoon, Sussex, but has not been recorded there since 1979.
  • Other habitat characteristics are: a regular tidal input of seawater; a small tidal range; no or low freshwater input other than rainfall; water retained at all states of the tide and at all seasons; salinity within the range 10-58 psu, usually 15-35 psu, with seasonal variation.

Substratum preferencesMud
Muddy sand
Sandy mud
Physiographic preferencesIsolated saline water (Lagoon)
Biological zoneLower Littoral Fringe
Wave exposureVery Sheltered
Extremely Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowInsufficient information
SalinitySee additional Information
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Lincoln, 1979, Sheader & Sheader, 1985, Sheader & Sheader, 1987, Anonymous, 1999(s),
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismDirect Development
Reproductive SeasonAll year with summer peak Reproductive LocationInsufficient information
Reproductive frequencyAnnual protracted Regeneration potential No
Life span<1 year Age at reproductive maturity<1 year
Generation time<1 year Fecundity11-100
Egg/propagule sizeInsufficient information Fertilization typeInsufficient information
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potentialNot relevant Larval settlement periodNot relevant
Duration of larval stageNot relevant   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationReproduction continues throughout the year with peak reproductive activity in the warm summer months in the UK. In France, life span varies from 48 to 408 days according to the water temperature when born (Janssen et al., 1979). Those born in the winter develop 4 to 5 times slower than those born in the summer. Egg incubation time also increases with a reduction in water temperature from 7 days in summer to 50 days in winter.
Reproduction References Janssen et al., 1979,
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