Re: amphipods

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Re: amphipods
From: Alistair Poore <>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 09:39:17 +1100
Like Wim, I am a bird watcher that happens to work on marine amphipods. I suspect this is more of a coincidence than some bizarre tendency for amphipod reserchers to also be interested in birds. One of the world's foremost amphipod researchers, the late Jerry Barnard, however, was a very keen birdwatcher and travelled extensively to see over 4000 of the world's birds. To answer Judy's question and bring the topic back to birds, amphipods are most definitely consumed by birds. The most obvious example are the waders foraging on mudflats and beaches. Their diet is largely small crustaceans such as amphipods and polychaete worms. Sandpipers are known to collect 10000 amphipods per day! This can lead to some interesting ecology. In the Bay of Fundy, the arrival of large numbers of migratory waders results in: 1) reduced amphipod numbers, 2) increased numbers of their prey (tiny algae) and 3) more stable sediments because the algae act to bind the sediments together. In wet forests, there is no doubt that ground foraging birds such as lyrebirds, thrushes etc would eat terrestrial amphipods. If you turn over some leaf litter you will often see them hopping around (try this in your garden if you live in the wetter parts of the country).


Dr Alistair G. B. Poore
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of New South Wales
Sydney, 2052

Phone: 61 2 9385 2154     Fax: 61 2 9385 1558
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