Pistol Shrimp

Snapping Shrimp

What is a Pistol Shrimp?

A pistol shrimp also known as a snapping shrimp. Snapping shrimp are common in seagrasses, oyster reefs, and coral reefs. In Florida, they can also be abundant in mangrove areas.

The pistol shrimp reaches 1.25-1.75 inches in length. Body color is usually a translucent green, often with bright red or orange tones on the tips of the claw, and a blue or purple color on parts of the tail and along the sides. The walking legs are pale red. First legs have unequal size claws. The larger claw is notched along both the outer and inner edges where the fingers meet the base of the claw, and usually has white blotches, antennae are longer than the body length .


The pistol shrimp is found in the low tide zone with is mostly submerged. It is only exposed at the point of low tides and for a longer period of time during extremely low tides, organisms in this zone generally are not well adapted to periods of dryness and temperature extremes. Creatures in this area can grow to larger sizes because there is more energy in the localised ecosystem and because marine vegetation can grow to much greater sizes than in the other three intertidal subregions due to the better water coverage. The water is shallow enough to allow plenty of light to reach the vegetation to allow substantial photosynthetic activity, and the salinity is at almost normal levels. This area is also protected from large predators such as large fish because of the wave action and the water still being relatively shallow.

Life Cycle

The shrimp emerge as tiny floating organisms, a component of zooplankton. After growing, they sink to the bottom of the ocean where they will live. Female shrimp lay over a thousand egg, which are attached to her swimming legs. As a shrimp grows, it often molts (losing it's old shell and grows a new one).

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Shan3 Harris Period 1