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Thread: Sand fleas? Sea lice? What's the correct name?

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    Default Sand fleas? Sea lice? What's the correct name?

    I think of those little critters that stick to ocean fish as sea lice, and the little critters with all those small legs that I find in my shrimp pot on a fish carcass as sand fleas. So what's the correct name for the ones I find in my shrimp pots? The name I hear on Deadliest Catch lately is sand fleas, but maybe there are other names, too.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver View Post
    I think of those little critters that stick to ocean fish as sea lice, and the little critters with all those small legs that I find in my shrimp pot on a fish carcass as sand fleas. So what's the correct name for the ones I find in my shrimp pots? The name I hear on Deadliest Catch lately is sand fleas, but maybe there are other names, too.
    You've got it right. The little guys eating you shrimp bait are "sand fleas", and the larger flat guys in the mouth of your salmon are "sea lice". There aren't really any 'better' or more 'correct' common names for either. 'Sand fleas' is a general catch-all name for any member of the order Amphipoda which is composed of 7000+ different species. 'Sea lice' are copepod parasites in the family Caligidae. The ones often seen on and specific to salmon are Lepeophtherius salmonis.... The 'correct' name for any of them would probably be the appropriate Latin name for the specific sub-species in question, but determining exactly what your looking at would require a microscope and a PHD in Amphipoda ecology. I'll stick to calling them sand fleas and sea lice!
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    Here is a pretty good read on amphipods. Note that they're approximately the same thing folks call "scuds" in freshwater. Here is samesource for copepods.

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    While they're obviously not the same as the lice or fleas that pester humans and domestic animals, do either sea lice or sand fleas ever bite people? Do they ever detach from caught fish and then attach to the people fishing?

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    While they're obviously not the same as the lice or fleas that pester humans and domestic animals, do either sea lice or sand fleas ever bite people? Do they ever detach from caught fish and then attach to the people fishing?
    Many species of sand fleas are terrestrial and bite. Check out the link Brownbear provided. Lots of info there.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Many species of sand fleas are terrestrial and bite. Check out the link Brownbear provided. Lots of info there.
    Of course, I'd already read both links before posting my question. What I wanted to know is, when I catch a fish or remove old bait and those little buggers swarm all over my hand, do I have to be concerned about them taking up residence the way ticks do?

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I would think that they would have a hard time living in air rather than water - but I am just guessing. I never really worried about it.

    A good way to keep them might be tween your cheek and gum like we did for Nightcrawlers and Leeches in Montana while walleye fishing!

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    Of course, I'd already read both links before posting my question. What I wanted to know is, when I catch a fish or remove old bait and those little buggers swarm all over my hand, do I have to be concerned about them taking up residence the way ticks do?
    It's an interesting question that I would be interested in knowing the question to as well, just for the sake of the education if nothing else. I never thought about it much before, but now I'm curious. I've learned by way of this conversation http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...bug-like-thing that apparently at least some isopods will latch on to you. It would be interesting to learn if any copepods will do the same. Perhaps eventually one of the more learned biologists on here will have some input.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    It's an interesting question that I would be interested in knowing the question to as well, just for the sake of the education if nothing else. I never thought about it much before, but now I'm curious.
    Yep, I'm still curious too. Did some casual research but no answers yet. Thanks all for the replies and links to info.

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