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Common Grass Shrimp

Palaemonetes pugio

The common grass shrimp's body is segmented and nearly transparent. (Brian Gratwicke/Wikimedia Commons)
The common grass shrimp's body is segmented and nearly transparent. (Brian Gratwicke/Wikimedia Commons)

The common grass shrimp has a delicate, nearly transparent body with a distinctive serrated “horn” over the eyes. It lives in shallow waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers.

Appearance:

  • Segmented, nearly transparent body that is compressed on either side
  • Pointed, serrated “horn” extending over the eyes
  • Claws on the first two pairs of walking legs
  • Grows to 1.5 inches long

Habitat:

  • Lives in shallow waters, often among bay grass beds
  • May move to warmer, deeper waters in winter

Range:

  • Found throughout most of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers

Feeding:

  • Forages for worms, algae and tiny crustaceans

Predators:

  • Small fish such as sunfish and killifish feed on grass shrimp

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Usually spawns in summer, when water temperatures warm
  • Females must molt before mating
  • The female carries her eggs in a brood pouch, visible through the shrimp’s transparent body.
  • Eggs hatch into free-swimming larvae after 12-20 days. Larvae go through several developmental phases over the first 1-2 months of life.
  • Lives approximately one year

Other Facts:

Sources and Additional Information:




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