The most common of the amphipods on Santa Barbara sandy beaches, M. corniculata is an important factor in kelp removal on the beach. This amphipod can easily be distinguished from the rest that occupy the beach by its thick, club-like antennae and their skull-like tergite (anterior segmental) pattern. Dark markings are usually present on their number six and seven lateral coxa. These amphipods can be found in various sizes, ranging up to 20mm. These amphipods are found throughout the entire scope of Santa Barbara beaches. Phoretic mites and nematodes are common on these amphipods, especially at larger size groups (Rigby 1996). Besides kelp, these beach hoppers also scavenge and even cannibalize.
(Photograph) © Alice Abela