Skeleton shrimp Facts

Skeleton shrimp Facts
Skeleton shrimp is miniature crustacean. Despite its name, is not closely related with shrimps. Skeleton shrimp is an amphipod (crustacean with variously shaped legs). There are hundreds of species of skeleton shrimps that can be found in the oceans around the world. Skeleton shrimps usually inhabit shallow waters in the coastal areas. They are numerous and widespread in the wild.
Interesting Skeleton shrimp Facts:
Skeleton shrimp can reach 0.5 to 2 inches in length. Males are larger than females.
Skeleton shrimp can be transparent or pale brown, green or pink colored. Color of the body depends on the habitat (it provides camouflage). Some skeleton shrimps are able to change the color of the body to blend with the colors of their surroundings.
Skeleton shrimp has cylindrical, stick-shaped body with two pairs of legs attached to the front part of the body and three pairs of legs attached to the rear end of the body. It also has two pairs of antennas on top of the head (first pair of antennas is much longer).
Front legs of skeleton shrimp are folded and modified into claws which are used for hunting, walking and in defense purposes.
Hooked rear legs of skeleton shrimp facilitate gripping of bryozoans, hydrozoans, sea weed, algae and rocks.
Skeleton shrimp spends most of its life attached to the substrate. It moves along it similar to inchworms. When it swims, it rapidly changes posture of the body (quickly bends and straightens the body) to propel itself in the water.
Skeleton shrimp is an omnivore (it eats plants and meat). Its diet is based on detritus, copepods, larvae, worms and algae. Skeleton shrimp uses antennas to collect food from the rocks and to filter food particles that float in the water. Some species are ambush predators (they hunt prey using the element of surprise).
Skeleton shrimps live in large colonies. Thanks to their thread-like slim bodies, they are almost invisible for the majority of predators which easily confuse them with filaments of bryozoans.
Natural enemies of skeleton shrimps are anemones, jellyfish, surfperch and shrimps.
Skeleton shrimp discards (molt) hard external shell during the periods of intense growth.
Females mate shortly after molting (while their new shells are still soft).
Skeleton shrimps are also known as "praying mantis of the sea" because they hunt like praying mantis and kill their partners after mating (females of some species kill males after mating using their venomous claws).
Female carries large number of transparent eggs inside the brood pouch (located on her abdomen) until they hatch.
Babies look like miniature version of adults (skeletal shrimps do not undergo larval stage). Mother takes care of her babies until they become able to fend for themselves.
Skeleton shrimp can survive up to 1 year in the wild.

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