PORT PHILLIP BAY


Ceramic Ghost Shrimp 

Biffarius ceramicus (Fulton & Grant, 1906)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Carapace with dorsal oval, rostrum and anterolateral projections obsolete. Eyes flattened. Antennules and antennae peduncles similar in dimensions. Maxilliped 3 operculate, ischium not produced, dactylus linear. Chelipeds unequal; major cheliped with serrated tooth and ridge on lower margin; carpus in male shorter than broad; propodus excavate and with minor tooth in gape; fixed finger straight; dactylus irregularly dentate, more so in male. Minor cheliped with denticulate ischium. Pleopods 3-5 with stubby appendix masculina. Telson longer than wide, as long as uropods.

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:
Thalassinidea
Family:
Callianassidae
Genus:
Biffarius
Species:
ceramicus

General Description

Fourth segment (merus) of larger claw (cheliped) with serrated tooth and ridge on lower margin; fifth segment (carpus) in male shorter than broad; sixth segment (propodus) excavate and with minor tooth in gape; fixed finger straight; last segment(dactylus) irregularly dentate, more so in male. Tail fan (telson) longer than wide, as long as uropods. Body white, tinged with red, up to 8 cm long.

Biology

All ghost shrimps are burrowers, either making complex tubular branching burrows in muddy and sandy sediments or living in crevices under rocks and corals. This burrowing behaviour make them an important part of the marine environment. During feeding and burrow construction, they are continuously processing the sediment causing mixing and transportation of particles and gases. Each species creates a unique burrow plan which in turn has a different effect on the sediment and nutrient dynamics of the system. The presence of burrows ultimately increases the oxygen content of the sediment leading to a healthier system.

Habitat

Intertidal and shallow subtidal mudflats and sandy beaches, to 13 m depth.

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

Southern temperate oceans, including southern Australia.

Species Group

Prawns, shrimps, lobsters Ghost and mud shrimps

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

8 cm

Diet

Organic matter

Harmful

Not harmful but a nip from large claws could be painful

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Species Code

MoV 1007

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, Ceramic Ghost Shrimp, Biffarius ceramicus, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 22 Aug 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/5525

Text: creative commons cc by licence