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7 sensational specialties of shrimp!

 

Photo by Jeff Miller licensed CC BY NC-SA


With over 2,000 species of shrimp living on our planet, there’s an awful lot to know about these amazing sea creatures. Let's check out some great big facts about shrimp!


Shrimp come in all sizes

a bright orange Emperor shrimp

(Photo credit: krokodiver on VisualHunt.com / CC BY)

There are lots of teeny tiny shrimp — they are called shrimp, after all. Some types of emperor shrimp only grow to about four millimetres long. That is seriously small. However, some shrimp can grow to more than 20 centimetres. That’s pretty big for a shrimp!


Shrimp are dancers

side view of a Mantis shrimp showing all its legs

(Photo on Visual Hunt)

Some shrimp like to get down and boogie while trying to attract fish. That might be because they’re decapods (say "deck-ah-pods") — that’s a creature that has 10 legs. Add some cool antennae moves, and you've got yourself a dance party!


Shrimp are helpful

a small cleaner shrimp inside an eel's mouth

Cleaner shrimp helping out an eel. (Photo credit: prilfish on Visualhunt.com / CC BY)

The reason some shrimp dance is pretty important. Cleaner shrimp like to dance to attract fish. Once the fish comes up to the shrimp, it will crawl in their mouth. It eats the parasites off of their teeth. Then it continues to clean their body, too!


Shrimp are omnivores

a spotted Harlequin shrimp

Harlequin shrimp. (Photo credit: Stephen Childs on Visualhunt / CC BY)

Creatures that eat only plants are called herbivores. Creatures that eat only meat are called carnivores. But shrimp like to eat both proteins and plants. That makes them omnivores — just like humans!


Shrimp are noisy

a colourful Pink Floyd shrimp with a large red front claw

(Wikimedia/Arthur Anker/Oxford University Museum of Natural History/CC BY)

The snapping of some shrimp’s pincers is actually considered one of the loudest sounds in the ocean. It's even louder than a jet engine! There's one species of shrimp, called a synalpheus pinkfloydi (named after the rock band Pink Floyd). It snaps its claws so loudly that it can stun or kill small fish nearby.


Shrimp are tough

a Pistol shrimp with a very large front claw

(Photo credit: Bill & Mark Bell on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA)

Some shrimp can actually shoot water bubbles like bullets at their enemies! Pistol shrimp have a special claw that snaps and creates a water bubble that moves up to 100 kilometres per hour. It creates a bright light of intense heat when it pops — hotter than the sun! On people, it feels kind of like when you get hit with a rubber band.


Shrimp like school

a school of shrimp hang out together

(Photo credit: Kyle Strickland on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC)

Like many fish, shrimp travel in groups called schools. It makes life safer for small shrimp. They can be a tasty treat for a lot of predators such as sea urchins, starfish, octopus and humans too! Many birds eat shrimp as well. Puffin and flamingos eat so many shrimp that it is one of the reasons they turn pink!