BIOTIC Species Information for Gammarus salinus
Researched byGeorgina Budd Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific nameGammarus salinus Common nameA gammarid shrimp
MCS CodeS481 Recent SynonymsNone

PhylumCrustacea Subphylum
Superclass ClassEumalacostraca
SubclassPeracarida OrderAmphipoda
SuborderGammaridea FamilyGammaridae
GenusGammarus Speciessalinus

Additional Information
  • Nine other marine species of Gammarus are found around the British Isles: Gammarus locusta, Gammarus zaddachi, Gammarus oceanicus, Gammarus chevreuxi,Gammarus tigrinus, Gammarus finmarchicus, Gammarus duebeni, Gammarus insensibilis and Gammarus crinicornis (Lincoln, 1979).
  • Accurate identification of amphipods requires a certain amount of manipulation under a microscope.
Taxonomy References Lincoln, 1979, Hayward et al., 1996, Ruppert & Barnes, 1994, Kolding, 1981,
General Biology
Growth formArticulate
Feeding methodHerbivore
Surface deposit feeder
Environmental positionEpibenthic
Typical food typesOrganic detritus and seaweed. HabitFree living
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeSmall(1-2cm)
HeightInsufficient information Growth RateInsufficient information
Adult dispersal potential100-1000m DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationMoulting
Kinné (1960) found that the frequency (days - weeks) at which Gammarus salinus moulted varied with changes in temperature, the intervals being longer in males than in females. Females kept without a male showed a progressive prolongation of the intervals between moults beginning with the 3rd of 4th interval following isolation. Females kept together with males, in pairs, maintained moults at constant intervals. No differences were observed to occur in different salinities of 5, 10 and 30 psu.
Biology References Lincoln, 1979, Kinné, 1960, Breeman & Hoeksema, 1987,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandOn all coasts of England, Scotland and Wales in brackish-water, especially in the Humber and Severn Estuaries.
Global distributionNorth-west Europe from English Channel to Baltic, some isolated reports of Gammarus salinus on the Iberian Peninsula.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range0-10 m
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationGammarus species are abundant estuarine animals. Spooner (1947) stated that gammarids were adaptable to various surroundings and not limited to particularly specialised ecological niches. Nor did they show gross patchiness of distribution within their habitable range, rather continuous populations occupy the entire length of estuaries, although the proportion of species represented changes from head to mouth. Furthermore, gammarids are relatively indifferent to the nature of the substratum to a remarkable degree. Provided that there is some kind of object to provide them with shelter/cover it does not matter whether the substratum is muddy or stony, the water turbid or clear and almost any kind of organic matter provides detritus upon which to feed (Spooner, 1947).

The distributional range of Gammarus salinus to the south was thought to be restricted as far as the English Channel. However, Van Maren (1975) reported Gammarus salinus for the first time on the Spanish coast in 1974.

Substratum preferencesAlgae
Gravel / shingle
Coarse clean sand
Physiographic preferencesEstuary
Biological zoneUpper Infralittoral
Lower Infralittoral
Wave exposureSheltered
Very Sheltered
Extremely Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowStrong (3-6 kn)
Moderately Strong (1-3 kn)
SalinityReduced (18-30 psu)
Low (<18 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Lincoln, 1979, JNCC, 1999, NBN, 2002, Maren van, 1975, Crothers, 1966, Spooner, 1947,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismDirect Development
Reproductive SeasonAutumn to spring Reproductive LocationInsufficient information
Reproductive frequencyAnnual protracted Regeneration potential No
Life span<1 year Age at reproductive maturity<1 year
Generation time<1 year FecundityIncreases with female length
Egg/propagule sizeInsufficient information Fertilization typeInternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential100-1000m Larval settlement periodNot relevant
Duration of larval stageNot relevant   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationLeineweber (1985) sampled a population of Gammarus salinus over 15 months in the south-western Kattegat at Sangstrup Klint, Denmark and reported that Gammarus salinus most likely had two generations per year, mature females were found from late November to late July. However, in the Limfjord, Denmark, the population of Gammarus salinus was reported to only produce one generation between 1977-1978, despite the presence of egg bearing females throughout the year (Kolding & Fenchel, 1979). Juveniles were most numerous from April through to July, and in the warmer months between July and October a relatively stable population was attained. The main reproduction period occurred during the winter months, with 80% of the female population reported to be pregnant, the adult generation died in May.
During reproduction, the male carries the smaller female grasped by his gnathopods, a condition known as amplexus. The animals separate briefly to permit the final preadult moult of the female. Sperm transfer is accomplished quickly; the male twists his abdomen around so that his uropods touch the female marsupium (brood pouch) and sperm are swept into the marsupium by the ventilating current created by the female. Finally the pair separate (Rupert & Barnes, 1994). The eggs are brooded within a chamber, the marsupium, beneath the thorax, formed by shelf-like plates projecting inward from the thoracic coxae.
Kinné (1960) examined the effects of different temperatures and salinity on the incubation time of Gammarus salinus. At a temperature between 19-20 °C females attained sexual maturity (1st oviposition) 20-30 days after hatching; their average length (from tip of rostrum to base of telson) being 7-8 mm. Males reached maturity one or more weeks later than the females. The incubation time (period between oviposition and hatching) of the eggs depended largely on the temperature at which the females were maintained; < 14 °C incubation took over 15 days and decreased to 5 days at 20 °C. As in other amphipods Kinné (1960) found that the fecundity of females increased with length, with numbers of eggs varying in a clutch (Ruppert & Barnes, 1994).
Reproduction References Leineweber, 1985, Kinné, 1960, Ruppert & Barnes, 1994, Kolding & Fenchel, 1979,
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