Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

Family LAOPHONTIDAE T. Scott, 1905

Compiler and date details

31 May 2007 - G.K. Walker-Smith & K. Chilton-Lahey


Laophontidae are abundant in the benthos and occur in all sediment types, from the intertidal to depth of approximately 120 metres. There are also commonly found on algae and seagrass (Boxshall & Halsey 2004).

This species in this family may be recognised by the very sharp demarcation of the body segments. Another obvious and distinguishing character is the structure of the first pair of legs whereby the endopod is 2-segmented and in most cases is powerfully developed, while the exopod is significantly smaller. Species in this family are generally marine, though some species of Laophonte may occasionally be found in brackish water.

There are 62 genera in the family Laophontidae, and eight of them, represented by 11 species, occur in Australia.



Body. Somewhat variable in shape, but having always the segments very sharply defined, with conspicuous constrictions between them, their hind edge more of less raised and generally fringed with small spinules. Genital sgement in female distinctly subdivided. Antennule with 4-8 segments, but usually with 6-7 segments. Antennule of male subchirocer or chirocer. Antenna with allobasis, exopod 1-segmented with 3-4 setae, or may be represented by only 2 setae. P1 exopod smaller than endopod, 1- to 3-segmented; endopod 2-segmented and prehensile, with one inner seta on endopod-1, endopod-2 with distal claw. P2-P4 exopod 3-segmented, sometimes with 1 segment reduced. P2-P4 endopod 2-segmented, sometimes with segment reduced. Setal formulae of P2-P4:

Swimming legs Exopod- Endopod-
1 2 3 1 2
P2 0 0-1 [0-1].2.[2-3] 0-1 [0-2].[1-2].[0-1]
P3 0 0-1 [1-2].2.[2-3] 0-1 [0-3].[1-2].[0-1]
P4 0 0-1 [0-2].2.[2-3] 0-1 [1-2].[1-2].[0-1]

P2-P4 of male, exopod often more strongly built than females. P5 of male and females of varying structure in different genera.

For a more detailed diagnosis see Boxhsall & Halsey (2004)


ID Keys

See Boxshall & Halsey (2004) for a key to the genera of Laophontidae.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
26-Jul-2012 26-Jul-2012 MODIFIED
30-Mar-2010 MODIFIED