A sea slater (Lekanesphaera rugicauda)

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



This broadly oval species reaches a length of around 1 cm. The colour patterning is variable but usually grey with a medial, longitudinal stripe of yellow, orange or pinkish red extending the length of the body. The pleotelson is covered in small tubercles, giving it a granulated appearance and may extend beyond the tips of the uropods. The outer edge of the uropod exopod is almost smooth.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Common in brackish waters around the UK but few records in Ireland.

Global distribution

Found from the Baltic south to the Bay of Biscay and a single record from Morocco.


Lekanesphaera rugicauda is found in the upper intertidal of brackish waters. Often in salt marsh pools where it can be found burrowing or under rocks and wood.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Body broadly oval, grey typically with medial longitudinal stripe of yellow, orange or pinkish red.
  • Dorsal surface of pleotelson granulated, extending beyond tips of uropods in adult males.
  • Outer rami of uropod exopod almost smooth.

Additional information

There are two other species which may also be found in brackish waters in the UK and Ireland, Lekanesphaera levii and Lekanesphaera hookeri. These may be distinguished by having a smooth pleotelson and having two rows of distinct tubercles respectively, in contrast to the granulated pleotelson of Lekanesphaera rugicauda. The related species Sphaeroma serratum is not found in brackish habitats and can be distinguished by the distinctly serrate uropod exopod and a smooth pleotelson.

Listed by

- none -



    1. Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre, 2017. BRERC species records recorded over 15 years ago. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/h1ln5p accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

    2. Cofnod – North Wales Environmental Information Service, 2018. Miscellaneous records held on the Cofnod database. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/hcgqsi accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

    3. Environmental Records Information Centre North East, 2018. ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017. Occurrence dataset: http://www.ericnortheast.org.ukl accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-38

    4. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset http://www.aphotomarine.com/index.html Accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01

    5. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Biological survey of the intertidal chalk reefs between Folkestone Warren and Kingsdown, Kent 2009-2011. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

    6. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Kent Wildlife Trust Shoresearch Intertidal Survey 2004 onwards. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

    7. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

    8. National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/opc6g1 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

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

    10. Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, 2017. NBIS Records to December 2016. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/jca5lo accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

    11. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-05-21

    12. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Myriapods, Isopods, and allied species (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/rvxsqs accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

    13. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project. Occurance dataset: http://www.sewbrec.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-02

    14. Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service., 2017. Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service (SBIS) Dataset. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/ab4vwo accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.


    This review can be cited as:

    Hosie, A.M. 2009. Lekanesphaera rugicauda A sea slater. 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 21-05-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2211

    Last Updated: 07/01/2009