Common shrimp

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 sandmussla, cockles, 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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Hunts at night

Hidden during the day

Autumn stroll

Spring stroll and drifting larvae

Sloughs its skin


Common shrimp     More facts     Other names
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Bo Johannesson | Martin Larsvik | Lars-Ove Loo | Helena Samuelsson