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Shrimps (Crangon spp)

Shrimps (Crangon spp)

Crangon above the sand surface

These shrimps prey on any suitable sized worms which it can find buried in the sand. In turn, it is consumed mainly by fish. Shrimps burrow quickly into sand by clearing it with the legs. The spotted colouring along the back of the animal is due to chromatophores, which gives good camouflage. Chromatophores are specialised cells containing pigment. The cells can expand and contract to change the colour pattern of the animal.

A widespread species on sandy beaches along both the Atlantic and Channel coasts.

Specific species detail:

Crangon crangon The Brown or Common Shrimp. This is a very common crustacean. It is a speckled brown colour has a tiny spike instead of a rostrum (see Prawn) and is up to 5cm long. It tends to live on sandy shores and in estuaries. It is very well camouflaged with many small dots of pigmentation which help it to blend in with a sandy background and conceal the shrimp from its fish and bird predators. It is usually found part buried in the sand but quickly darts off when disturbed. The sexes are separate and breeding occurs when the shrimps are one or two years old, during the spring or summer.

Head of Crangon crangon from above

Head of Crangon crangon from above. Note the chromatophores and lack of rostrum


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