A sand hopper (Amphitholina cuniculus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Unlike typical amphipods which have a laterally compressed body, Amphitholina cuniculus is subcylindrical. The head is globular directing the mouthparts forward. These combined with the positioning of the last 2 articles of pereopod 5 and the spination of uropod 3 and the telson are adaptations for its burrowing habits on exposed coasts.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

A rarely recorded species known from the southwest of the UK, the Isle of Man and southern Ireland.

Global distribution

Only recorded from the Atlantic coast of France outside of the UK.


An intertidal and shallow subtidal species found on exposed coasts. Amphitholina cuniculus is associated with the holdfasts of seaweeds, in particular it is found to burrow into the edible seaweed, Alaria esculenta or bladderlocks.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Bright green with red eyes.
  • Body subcylindrical with globular head.
  • Gnathopod 2 subchelate, propodus massive.
  • Pereopod 5 with propodus and dactylus rotated 180°.
  • Outer margin of uropod 3 exopod strongly serrated with 2 spines distally.
  • Telson with distal recurved spines.

Additional information

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Listed by

- none -



    1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

    2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-06-15


    This review can be cited as:

    Hosie, A.M. 2008. Amphitholina cuniculus A sand hopper. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 15-06-2024]. Available from: https://marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2230

    Last Updated: 16/10/2008