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Anatomy of Dwarf Shrimp PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shrimper   
Saturday, 05 July 2008 17:00

Shrimp are invertebrates which means they don't have a backbone to support their body like mammals, birds and fish but have a hard skin called an exoskeleton that holds everything in place. They are also known as Decapods as they have 10 legs (6 walking legs and 4 claws). I have created these diagrams to show the different parts of a shrimps anatomy to help members describe their shrimp.

External Anatomy
  • Abdomen - The back half of the shrimp. This section is made of smaller sections joined together and is quite flexible. Underneath the abdomen are the swimming legs (Paraeopods).
  • Cephalothorax - The Body and head section of the shrimp. This section contains the major organs and connects everything together! This section is not flexible.
  • Carapace (Not labeled on Diagram) - The Shell part of the Cephalothorax. This is the large red part on my Crystal Red Shrimp in the diagram
  • Eyes - The shrimp uses these for seeing! They have very complex eye stalks that can contain up to 30,000 individual eyes. Although shrimp primarily use their antenna for sensing their local enviroment, their eyes are very good. They can sense brightness as well as shapes and colours. They are able to see 360 degrees.
  • Antenna - Shrimp use their antenna in a similar way to insects, feeling around their perimeter looking for food and checking for danger. Shrimp also use their Antenna for tasting. They have 2 small pairs and 1 large pair of antenna.
  • Rostrum - This is the nose part of the shrimp. Some shrimp such as red nose shrimp have have very large rostrum.
  • Mouth (Maxilliped) - A shrimps mouth is made up of 2 sets of jaws and several small (some claw like) appendages that can hold food in place while they eat it.
  • Claws (Cheliped) - These are the front legs of a shrimp that have small claws on the end of them. The shrimp uses these for picking up food and shoveling it into their mouths.
  • Legs (Paraeopods) - These are the legs the shrimp uses for walking/climbing. Dwarf shrimp generally have 4 pairs (8 legs in total).
  • Swimming Legs ( pleopods) - These are the smaller legs under the abdomen. The shrimp uses these for swimming and female shrimp carry their eggs here.
  • Anus - I don't think i need to explain this one any further!
  • Exoskeleton (Not labeled on Diagram) - This is the shell/skin of the shrimp and is what keeps the body together. This is mostly made of chitin, but also contains some calcium carbonate. As it grows the shrimp will regularly shed its exoskeleton as this part cannot grow.

Internal Anatomy
  • Saddle - In female shrimp this is where the eggs are held prior to being fertilized. Males shrimp have testes in the same area, but these are not as visible.
  • Eggs - Fertilized eggs being held in the Pleopods. Shrimp that breed by the specialised method and can breed in fresh water will have relativly few eggs (20 - 40) that are quite big. Shrimp that breed by the primitive method and need brackish or salt water when young will have a lot more eggs (100+) that are very small.
  • Stomach - Where the food goes after being eaten to be digested. The main part of the stomach is made up of small chitinous teeth that chop the food up smaller and adds digestive enzymes. From here the food passes into a gizzard that filters the digestible and undigestible parts into separate areas. The digestible parts go into the central gut glands which is where the actual digestion and intake of substances happens. The waste from digestion such as ammonia is excreted through nephritic ducts that are near the second set of antennae (on the head)! The undigestible parts passes through the mid gut / intestine to the anus.
  • Intestine - This looks like a dark line traveling the length of the shrimps body. The undigestible parts of food travel along the intestine to the anus, it doesn't function like an intestine in mammals but is actually the mid gut mentioned above.
  • Heart - Although not clear in the image the heart and other internal organs are in this area. The heart of shrimp is very different to that of mammals. It is a kind of bag known as the pericardium. Unlike mammals they have no vein. Instead of valves they have 4 slit like openings that open and close as the heart pumps. Shrimp only 2 arteries that run from the heart to the head and tail. These arteries are open ended and the blood then flows back to the heart through the body tissue.
Last Updated on Saturday, 01 November 2008 22:37

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