this one scared my little son, what is it?
Hello from Australia!
This one scared my 1 y.o. son this morning as he was playing next to the door, he saw it running around (not too fast). The thing is I have never seen something like it. The body itself was about 1 inch long at least, actually, the board itself is 95mm wide, so it looks more like 30mm for the body. The spray didn’t bother him, only the light of the flash when I took a picture. I didn’t think to take a picture of its belly once I picked it up. Its shell felt rather robust while holding it, lots of feet underneath… and notice the sort of tails with those spike bits pointing upwards. One thing that might help: I threw it over the balcony into the water (sea water) and to my surprise, it sank immediately. Because I don’t know if my son touched it by mistake I’m willing to know if it is any harmful… We are located in Port Stephens, NSW Australia. Please let us know your findings… thank you for your help!
This is a Marine Isopod, sometimes called a Sea Slater, or Beach Cockroach or Rock Louse. We just received a photo from Florida as well. We suspect your specimen is in the genus Ligia, perhaps Ligia oceanica. They are harmless scavengers and can get very numerous on rocky beaches. We are surprised that you have never noticed them since your house is on the beach. It is curious how this Sea Slater found its way into your home since they rarely stray away from the crashing waves. Perhaps a luckless seagull dropped it on your balcony.