Federal Endangered Species Alert! Hay's Spring amphipod (Stygobromus hayi) PDF Print E-mail

What does it look like? The Hay's Spring amphipod is a small (1/2” to 1") colorless and eyeless crustacean whose adaptive hairs sense currents and food.

How long does it live? It has a life span of around 8 years.

What does it eat? Amphipods feed on organic matter (for instance leaf litter and dead insects).

Where does it live? The Hay's Spring amphipod’s primary habitat is groundwater.  It is extremely rare, with a small population only known to exist in Rock Creek Park.  It has been found at one spring near the south end of the National Zoological Park and at four other locations in Rock Creek Park.

How is threatened? Due to its small size, the Hay's Spring amphipod is extremely vulnerable to a variety of threats and so is listed as a federally endangered species.   This tiny creature has two natural predators, stonefly larvae and salamanders, at the surface springs, but few underground predators.  A bigger threat is potential habitat destruction.  Amphipod habitat might be subjected to flooding, isolated acts of vandalism, accidents during construction, or reduced flow of spring water if development prevents rainwater from soaking into the ground.