Hunts at night
During the summer half of the year, the
common shrimp is very active at night and hunts using its sense of smell.
It is greedy and finds most of its food on the bottom. Small shrimps eat
creatures that are less than 1 mm in size, mostly ostracods and bottom
living copepods. Larger shrimps eat common
polychaetes and mud
shrimps. It is also possible for them to eat shore
crabs and opossum
shrimps. The largest shrimps are cannibals, eating the younger, newly
sloughed shrimps. Naturally, this results in the survival of fewer small
shrimps when large shrimps are many in number.
During the summer, the common shrimp eats 10% of its own
body weight daily (compare with your OWN consumption!). The common shrimp
has a large effect on the fauna composition on and in shallow sand bottoms.
Hidden during the day
If the common shrimp feels threatened,
it can quickly swim over the bottom or get away in giant leaps. Usually,
it is not
dug down very deep during the day. It digs with its legs and beats
with its swimming legs, so the sand gets cleared away and the shrimp gradually
sinks into the sand. Finally the antennae are used to sweep sand over
its back and there by becaming completely buried. Occasionally the eyes
and antennae can be seen above the sand.
The shrimp has the sands grey colour, but also has the ability
to change its tone to match its surroundings. A dark shrimp has spread
its black pigmentation over the whole of its pigment cells on the exterior
of the exoskeleton, while the lighter shrimp has concentrated the pigmentation
to the centre of the cell. Look at the pictures on the next page.
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