PORT PHILLIP BAY


New Zealand Snapping Shrimp 

Alpheus novaezealandiae Miers, 1876

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Rostrum well developed and continued posteriorly as carina. Rostrum narrow, acute, flattened between orbitorostral grooves which are overhung by base of rostrum and by medial margin of orbital hoods; orbital hoods with crest but without teeth; rostrum-hood margins concave. Pterygostomial angle not produced. Chelipeds markedly asymmetrical, larger one swollen, carried extended, dactylus with plunger fitting into socket at base of fixed finger. Large chela laterally compressed; lower margin slightly concave; upper margin with transverse slit near base of dactylus; without lateral and mesial teeth near dactylar articulation; with few scattered setae. Small chela of balaeniceps form in male only, dactylus not broadened. Pereopods 1-4 with epipods. Pleuron of abdominal somite 6 without an articulating posterior triangular plate.

Source: Poore, G.C.B. (2004) Marine decapod Crustacea of southern Australia. A guide to identification (with chapter on Stomatopoda by Shane Ahyong). CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, 574 pp.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Subphylum:
Crustacea
Class:
Malacostraca
Subclass:
Eumalacostraca
Superorder:
Eucarida
Order:
Decapoda
Suborder:
Pleocyemata
Infraorder:
Caridea
Family:
Alpheidae
Genus:
Alpheus
Species:
novaezealandiae

General Description

Rostrum narrow, acute, flattened between orbitorostral grooves which are overhung by base of rostrum and by medial margin of orbital hoods; orbital hoods with crest but without teeth; rostrum-hood margins concave. Large claw (chela) laterally compressed; lower margin slightly concave; upper margin with transverse slit near base of last segment (dactylus); without lateral and mesial teeth near dactylar articulation; with few scattered setae. Small claw (chela) of balaeniceps form in male only, dactylus not broadened. Dark colour. Up to 7 cm wide.

Biology

Snapping shrimps or pistol shrimps are immediately distinguished from other families by having one claw much larger than the other, the larger claw cylindrical and with a parrot-beak-like finger. The snapping apparatus on the claw involves a piston at the base of the moveable finger that fits into a cavity of the fixed finger. When clicked closed by the strong muscles in the palm, a sudden jet of water is expelled to stun its prey, such as crabs and fishes. A sharp click is heard at the same time and may even be audible to us when walking over mudflats where the shrimps can be common.

Habitat

Intertidal under rocks, from cavities in bases of clumps of the tunicate Pyura stolonifera, depths to 26 m.

Reefs

Soft substrates

Coastal shores

Distribution guide

Lord Howe Island, New Zealand and southern Australia.

Species Group

Prawns, shrimps, lobsters Shrimps

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

7 cm

Diet

Organic matter

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Species Code

MoV 997

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Taylor, J.

Dr. Jo Taylor is the Sciences Collections Online Coordinator at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Poore, G.C.B.

Dr. Gary Poore is Principal Curator Emeritus at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Taylor, J. & Poore, G.C.B., 2011, New Zealand Snapping Shrimp, Alpheus novaezealandiae, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 21 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/5505

Text: creative commons cc by licence