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shrimp,small marine decapod crustaceancrustacean
, primarily aquatic arthropod of the subphylum Crustacea. Most of the 44,000 crustacean species are marine, but there are many freshwater forms. The few groups that inhabit terrestrial areas have not been particularly successful in an evolutionary sense; most require
..... Click the link for more information. with 10 jointed legs on the thorax, well-developed swimmerets on the abdominal segments, and a body that is compressed laterally. Shrimp differ from their close relatives, the lobsters and crabs, in that they are primarily swimmers rather than crawlers. As with other crustaceans, the body is covered with a smooth exoskeleton that must be periodically shed and re-formed as the animal grows. However, the shrimp's exoskeleton tends to be thinner than that of most other crustaceans; it is grayish and almost transparent. In some areas of the United States the term prawn is loosely applied to any large shrimp. However, in Europe, only members of the genus Crangon, distinguished from other shrimp by a slender body and a depressed abdomen, are considered true shrimp, while decapod crustaceans having toothed beaks (rostrums), long antennae, slender legs, and laterally compressed abdomens are called prawns. Tropical shrimp have bizarre shapes and colors. One of the most unusual shrimp is the pistol shrimp, a burrow dweller whose third right appendage is adapted into a huge claw with a moveable finger that can be snapped shut with so much force that the resulting sound waves kill or stun nearby prey.
Shrimp are widely distributed in temperate and tropical salt- and freshwaters. They may grow as long as 9 in. (23 cm), but most are smaller. They swim forward by paddling their abdominal swimmerets and can move backward with swift strokes of their fanlike tails. The common commercial shrimp, of the genus Peneus, is found in coastal waters from Virginia south. Shrimp flesh, which turns pink and white when cooked, is by far the most popular crustacean food and forms the basis of an important industry with centers in all the Gulf states, although most shrimp consumed in the United States are now imported. Shrimp are caught in large baglike nets that are dragged over the ocean floor, or may be raised in ponds on aquaculture farms. The flesh is canned in large quantities; fresh shrimp is packed in ice for shipping, or frozen and packaged. Dried shrimp is also common in Asia.
There are several other crustacean forms that are commonly called shrimp although they do not belong to the same order as the true shrimp, order Decapoda, which also includes the lobsters and crabs. The mantis shrimpmantis shrimp,
marine crustacean of the order Stomatopoda, characterized by a pair of enlarged appendages, called maxillipeds, that form powerful claws for seizing prey.
..... Click the link for more information. , possessing strong grasping legs resembling those of a praying mantis, make up the order Stomatopoda. The tiny brine shrimpbrine shrimp,
common name for a primitive crustacean that seldom reaches more than 1-2 in. (1.3 cm) in length and is commonly used for fish food in aquariums. Brine shrimp, which are not closely related to true shrimp, can be found almost everywhere in the world in inland
..... Click the link for more information. and fairy shrimp that seldom reach 1 in. (2.54 cm) in length belong to a completely separate subclass, Branchiopoda, order Anostraca. Two other branchiopods, tadpole shrimp and clam shrimp, are classified in the orders Notostraca and Diplostraca, respectively. Mysid shrimp are members of the order Mysidacea. True shrimp are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Crustacea, class Malacostraca, order Decapoda.