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Several species of Shrimp can be found in and around Barnegat Bay

Shrimp

 

Shrimp Anatomy

 Shrimp                    Crustaceans

Shrimp are swimming crustaceans found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water.  They are decapods and like crabs, they have ten legs. 

Grass Shrimp         Palaemonetes spp.

Grass shrimp are the most common shrimp inhabiting Barnegat Bay and are commonly found in salt marshes, eelgrass beds and oyster reefs.  Their exoskeleton (shell) is usually clear and almost transparent. 

Other names include ghost shrimp, shore shrimp, glass shrimp.  Some species can survive in fresh water and are very adaptable to aquarium life.

Several species of grass shrimp that can be found in the bay are so similar in appearance that it requires extremely close examination to accurately identify the species. 

Examples are:

- Marsh grass shrimp Palaemonetes vulgaris

- Daggerblade grass shrimp Palaemonetes pugio

- Brackish grass shrimp Palaemonetes intermedius

Grass shrimp have well-developed sense organs. They can easily maneuver and swim in the water, but most frequently are found crawling along the bottom using their three pair of walking legs. 

Grass shrimp are omnivores and feed on a range of plants and animals, including detritus, phytoplankton, and other small invertebrates

They grow to an average size of 1 1/2  to 2 inches

While grass shrimp have no commercial importance as food for humans, they have limited value as bait for fish such as weakfish and stripped bass.

However, they are an important species from an ecological perspective by serving as a link for energy transfer between trophic levels in the bay's food web. Grass shrimp feed on detritus, algae, and dead plant and animal material. In turn, grass shrimp are consumed in large quantities by commercially important fishes and forage species.

Fun Fact -  The abbreviation "sp." is used when an actual specific species name cannot or need not be specified. The abbreviation "spp." (plural) indicates "several species"

Daggerblade grass shrimp        Palaemonetes pugio

This species of (grass) shrimp is abundant in marshes, irrigation ditches and muddy bottom of Barnegat Bay.

They have a delicate-looking, nearly transparent body with a pointed, serrated rostrum, or "horn," extending over the eyes, hence the name "daggerblade".

They are very similar the the marsh and brackish grass shrimp, and inhabit the same environment.

    <click here> to see larger image
 

Sand shrimp        Crangon septemspinosa

The sand shrimp is also called the seven-spined bay shrimp. It is a small species of shrimp common to the Barnegat Bay estuary

It has a stout, heavy body that tapers to a narrow tail. Similar in appearance to  grass shrimp, sand shrimp can be identified by a few key characteristics.

The sand shrimp is flattened from top to bottom, rather than from side to side as is in the grass shrimp. <see image>

Sand shrimp have only one pair of claws, which are shaped more like hooks than typical snapping claws and four pair of walking legs.

The rostrum, a spiny projection between the eyes of many shrimp, is short on this species.

 

 



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