information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

An amphipod (Leucothoe spinicarpa)

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



Leucothoe spinicarpa grows to around 12 mm in length, has a green, pink or white laterally compressed body and red eyes. In Leucothoe spinicarpa the large gnathopod 1 is carpochelate (the chelae articulate at the carpus not with the propodus, as in crabs) and the larger gnathopod 2 is subchelate but with a very protuberant carpus.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Expected to be found around all coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Global distribution

Cosmopolitan - found in all oceans from the tropics to polar regions.


This species is found in the intertidal and shallow subtidal. Leucothoid amphipods are often associated with other organisms. Leucothoe spinicarpa is often found in the cavities of sponges and ascidians, as well as amongst the holdfasts of seaweeds.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Gnathopod 1 large, carpochelate.
  • Gnathopod 2 larger than first, subchelate.
  • Male gnathopod 2 palm crenulated.
  • Epimeral plate 3 almost rectangular, lacking distinct tooth.

Additional information

Leucothoe spinicarpa is believed to belong to a cosmopolitan species complex, meaning that possibly there are numerous species erroneously ascribed to Leucothoe spinicarpa.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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    1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2018-09-25.

    2. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

    3. OBIS (Ocean Biogeographic Information System),  2019. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2019-06-16


    This review can be cited as:

    Hosie, A.M. 2008. Leucothoe spinicarpa An amphipod. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 16-06-2019]. Available from:

    Last Updated: 17/10/2008