sea slaters text index | photo index
Phylum Arthropoda > Subphylum Crustacea > Class Malacostraca > Order Isopoda
Sea slaters
Ligia sp.
Family Ligiidae
updated Mar 2020
if you learn only 3 things about them ...
They are NOT insects! They are more like crabs.
They have seven pairs of legs and move very quickly.
They are scavengers.

Where seen? These nervous little animals are commonly seen on almost all our shores, often swarming in large numbers at low tide. They are common on rocky shores, also among mangroves.

What are sea slaters? Sea slaters are sometimes called sea cockroaches. Although sea slaters are also arthropods, they are not insects! They are crustaceans like crabs and prawns; but are very happy out of water.

2-3cm. Sea slaters have seven pairs of legs and move very fast! They have huge eyes and very long antennae. They are well adapted for life out of water, breathing air directly through 'pseudo-lungs'.

Kranji, Jun 06

Just moulted. Empty skin on the left.
Pulau Sekudu, Jul 20

Body very flat.
Labrador, May 09
What do they eat? Sea slaters may scavenge, nibbling on whatever recently died on the rocky shore. They may also eat tiny creatures and seaweeds. At low tide, they swarm over the rocks in large numbers.

Slater babies: Sea slaters brood their young in special pouches. The young are released as miniature adults instead of free-swimming larvae.

Sentosa, Oct 04

Chek Jawa, Jan 05

Feeding on recently destroyed barnacles?

Sea slaters on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Pulau Ubin OBS, Jan 16
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Small Sisters Island, Aug 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Captured by a Purple climbing crab.
Pulau Hantu May 09
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

Pulau Jong, Aug 20
Photo shared by Joleen Chan on facebook.

Links References
  • Edward E. Ruppert, Richard S. Fox, Robert D. Barnes. 2004.Invertebrate Zoology Brooks/Cole of Thomson Learning Inc., 7th Edition. pp. 963.
  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
  • Jones Diana S. and Gary J. Morgan, 2002. A Field Guide to Crustaceans of Australian Waters. Reed New Holland. 224 pp.
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