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Thread: Skeleton Shrimp Use 18 Appendages to Feed, Fight and ... Frolic | Deep Look

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    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Skeleton Shrimp Use 18 Appendages to Feed, Fight and ... Frolic | Deep Look

    Deep Look

    On first impression, skeleton shrimp anatomy is confusing. These crustaceans use a funky assortment of body parts to move around like inchworms, feed on bits of sea garbage, stage boxing matches, and make lots of clingy babies.




    The striking bodies of skeleton shrimp are gangly and ridiculously elongated. These omnivores constantly sieve food particles or small organisms from the water by waving their bodies back and forth, using comb-like filters on their shorter antennae. Most of the time, they are detritivores, helping break down dead organic matter further into nutrients for smaller animals. They also play another important ecological role in the food chain as tasty morsels for fish and crabs.

    Males are much larger than females and frequently fight other males for access to mates. Each male has two pairs of claws called gnathopods, the larger of which are used to box each other. Gnathopods can be lethal, and can be used to split an opponent in half. Researchers are investigating whether or not some skeleton shrimp species deliver venom in these fights through tiny pores in the tips of the claws.

    Females sometimes kill the males after mating, using their gnathopods. Females will then aggressively guard their brood pouches, which can contain hundreds of fertilized eggs. Hatchlings resemble miniature adults, and often cling to their parents after hatching. They mature rapidly, molting as often as once every week. Maturity can take a few weeks to months, depending on environmental conditions.

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    --- Where do skeleton shrimp live?
    Skeleton shrimp live only in saltwater, and are found in oceans worldwide, usually near coastlines.

    --- Are skeleton shrimp invasive species?
    Some species of skeleton shrimp, like the Japanese skeleton shrimp (Caprella mutica), are considered invasive species in non-native waters, but so far, researchers have not discovered any significant negative (or positive) effect from their presence in the ecosystems they invade. One possible effect could be that an invasive species of skeleton shrimp (if it is larger like the Japanese skeleton shrimp) may displace a smaller native species of skeleton shrimp.

    --- Do skeleton shrimp camouflage themselves?
    The tiny, slender, elongated bodies of skeleton shrimp help them blend in with whatever they are grabbing on to – things like algae, seagrass, or hydroids.
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    Amusing because they a small, but what if they have larger cousins?

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    My next Halloween costume!

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    30 Knot Maniac ShanaCruz50's Avatar
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    Step aside David Attenborough, there’s a new show in town- Photoboy’s Weird World of Crustaceans and Critters.
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