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The Anatomy of Shrimp (Dwarf)


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It's important for us to know the anatomical parts of your shrimp, especially when trying to describe a certain section that might be impacted by disease. This helps with the communication and describing issues when we are asking for help or when we are offering help.




Have to use a drawing to get greater detail of these areas...







·         Antenna - Shrimp use their antenna to feel around their perimeter looking for food and checking for danger. Shrimp also use their Antenna for “tasting†the water. They have 1 pair of the longer Antenna. These longer antenna are their long range danger detectors with 180 deg sweep from front to tail. The shrimp will use this in low light to feel around as they move.

·         Antenulles – similar to the longer Antenna, the antenulles are just shorter and they have 2 pairs. These shorter antenulles are also used to find food close to their mandibles (mouth), as well as to detect danger in front of them.

·         Carapace - The part of the Cephalothorax, commonly called the Head (actually includes the thorax too, hence the name cephalo-thorax). The carapace houses and protects the internal organs like the heart, gills, digestive tract and reproductive organs.

·         Abdomen - The back half of the shrimp or Pleon. This section is comprised of 6 smaller flexible sections. The first 3 segments behind the carapace is called the Tergum. And the last 3 segments of the abdomen is called the Pleuron. The abdomen is essentially a large fleshy muscle.

·         Eyes - For seeing, of course. They have very complex eye stalks that can contain up to 30,000 individual eyes. Although shrimp primarily use their antenna for sensing their immediate environment, their eyes are still a primary sensory organ to detect predators. They can sense brightness as well as movement, shapes & colours; and are able to see 360 degrees.

·         Rostrum - This is the nose part of the shrimp, and can be very sharp. The length of the rostrum varies with the type of shrimp.

·         Pereopods - These are the legs the shrimp uses for walking and climbing. Dwarf shrimp generally have 4 pairs of legs(8 in total). The pereopods also bear the sexual organs, which are the third pereopod in the female and the fifth pereopod in the male.

·         Chelipeds - are the modified legs that have small claws on them for grasping and ripping food. In Riffle Shrimps, these claws are replaced with fans that filter the water for food.

·         Maxillipeds – smaller appendages close to the mouth that hold food in place while they eat.

·         Pleopods - also called swimmerets; are the small swimming legs found on the underside of the Abdomen.  These legs are used for swimming through the water column.  They are also used by female shrimp for brooding eggs until they hatch.

·         Uropod - The uropod is the tail segment of the shrimp.  The tail propels the shrimp rapidly backwards when flicked using the muscular abdomen. In between the fans of the tail is a pointier segment called the Telson.

·         Eggs - Fertilised eggs are held in the Pleopods. Freshwater shrimp usually carry few eggs (20 - 40). The mother will fan the fans occasionally to keep them clean and oxygenated.

·         Exoskeleton - This is the shell of the shrimp. This is mostly made of chitin, but also contains some calcium carbonate. As it grows the shrimp will regularly shed its exoskeleton, as the exoskeleton does not grow. So don’t be alarmed when you find an empty shell on the bed of the tank. It’s not a dead shrimp, just one that has grown out of it’s old shell.

Contrary to what some might realise, the exoskeleton does not contain any colour. The colour of the shrimp that you see is actually beneath the exoskeleton. 

Edited by jayc
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Excellent article JayC - Even after 18 months I still haven't learnt all these parts. Thanks :thumbsu:

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Should be a sticky me thinks!


I second that. But then I'm biased.  :rock:


<edit> Tidied up and added a little more detail in the Description section if it's even going to be a candidate for a Sticky.

Edited by jayc
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I third a sticky.... and I'm not bias

Edited by inverted
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Love your work JayC! Always so good with breaking things down for the rest of us to comprehend! Thanks heaps mate!

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Nice work dude, very informative. Your second thousand is off to a flying start! :thumbsu:

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Love your work JayC! Always so good with breaking things down for the rest of us to comprehend! Thanks heaps mate!


Thanks dude. I always remember that there are all levels of hobbyist on the forums from new shrimpkeepers to fulltime breeders.




Nice work dude, very informative. Your second thousand is off to a flying start! :thumbsu:


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