Sea slater (Ligia oceanica)

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassCrustacea
OrderIsopoda
FamilyLigiidae
GenusLigia (1)
SizeLength: up to 3 cm (2)

Not threatened (2).

The common sea slater is a sea-shore relative of woodlice that can grow up to 3 cm in length (3). It has a flattened, oval-shaped body that is grey to olive in colour and twice as long as it is broad. It has long antennae, seven pairs of walking legs and two projections at the tip of the abdomen, known as uropods. The black eyes are very large and obvious, and are similar to the compound eyes found in insects (4).

This species has a wide distribution in north-west Europe (2). In Britain, it is common on coasts with rocky substrata (4).

Found on rocky coasts beneath stones and in crevices on the upper shore (2).

The common sea slater is an omnivore, and emerges at night to feed on seaweed and detritus (2). Maturity has been recorded to occur by one year of age, but in most cases breeding will not begin until the sea slater is at least two years old. Breeding takes place in spring and summer. Most individuals only breed once, and have a life span of around two and a half to three years (2).

This species is not threatened at present.

Conservation action is not required for this species (4).

Ballerstedt, S., (2002) Ligia oceanica. Common sea slater. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from:
http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/Ligiaoceanica.htm

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (January, 2004)
    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn
  2. Fish, J.D. and Fish, S. (1989) A student’s guide to the seashore. Unwin Hyman Ltd, London.
  3. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. and Rogers, A. (2001) Photographic guide to the sea and shore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Ballerstedt, S., (2002) Ligia oceanica. Common sea slater. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. (November, 2003)
    http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/Ligiaoceanica.htm