Scientific name: Amphipoda
Size: 5mm to 33mm long depending on the species
Distribution: Found in many parts of Britain, especially the southern counties of England and the coastal areas of Wales
Months seen: All year round. Mostly active at night. In winter they can be found buried in sand.
Life Span: Up to 21 months
Habitat: Beneath seaweed and other debris along the strand line of beaches
Food: Decaying seaweed
Special features: There are many species of sandhopper around the UK coast. Sandhoppers are small, nocturnal crustaceans which are usually found during the daytime by lifting seaweed on the strand line. When the seaweed is disturbed they hop about to escape the sunlight. They do this by flicking their tails.
Living above the high water mark, their bodies are susceptible to drying out in hot, sunny weather. To avoid this the sandhoppers sometimes burrow quite deeply into the sand.
Sandhoppers have a pair of antennae, and one is always longer and thicker than the other.