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Caprella laeviuscula

THE RACE ROCKS TAXONOMY
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Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum
Subphylum
Arthropoda
Crustacea
Class Malacostraca
Subclass Eumalacostraca
Superorder Peracarida
Order Amphipoda
Suborder Caprellidea
Infraorder Caprellida
Family
Genus Caprella
Species laeviuscula
Common Name: Smooth skeleton shrimp
float
In this picture, the float which was in the water for a year, came up covered with Caprellids. See this file on the Current meter Click on this icon to get a 56K version of the movie above.
We found these Caprellids at a depth of 20 metres attached to hydroids on a Balanus nubilus. They frequently dwell amongst hydroids. The size of this individual was 3mm. These individuals were photographed using a Motic Digital Microscope at 10X magnification. Note the response to stimulation by a dull probe.

Look closely to see these tiny skeleton shrimp clinging to bryozoans, hydroids or algae. Their body shape and color help the shrimp to blend into their background. Their bodies are long, cylindrical and range from pale brown and green to rose. Some species can quickly change color to blend into their backgrounds.

Skeleton shrimp look like, and sometimes are called, "praying mantises of the sea." They have two pairs of legs attached to the front end of their bodies, with three pairs of legs at the back end. The front legs form powerful "claws" for defense, grooming and capturing food. The rear legs have strong claws that grasp and hold on to algae or other surfaces. They use their antennae for filter feeding and swimming.

Diet
diatoms (microscopic plants), detritus, filtered food particles, amphipods 
Size
to 1.5 inches (4 cm) long 
Range
low intertidal zone and subtidal waters in bays,

Conservation Notes

Skeleton shrimp are abundant and live in many habitats, including the deep sea. They play an important role in the ecosystem by eating up detritus and other food particles. 

Cool Facts

Shrimp, sea anemones and surf perch prey on skeleton shrimp. The females of some skeleton shrimp species kill the male after mating. 
 
Skeleton shrimp use their front legs for locomotion. To move, they grasp first with those front legs and then with their back legs, in inchworm fashion. They swim by rapidly bending and straightening their bodies. 
 
To grow, skeleton shrimp shed their old exoskeletons and form new, larger ones. They can mate only when the female is between new, hardened exoskeletons. After mating, the female deposits her eggs in a brood pouch formed from leaflike projections on the middle part of her body. Skeleton shrimp hatch directly into juvenile adults.

Source: Monterey Bay Aquarium:
Online Field Guide http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/living_species/default.asp?hOri=1&inhab=521


Also see:

http://www.nwmarinelife.com/htmlswimmers/c_laeviuscula.html

This file is provided as part of a collaborative effort by the students of Lester B. Pearson College
Date:
2005
Kevin Mwenda PC Yr 31
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Lester B. Pearson College