Morphology updated

The following image shows the general morphology of shrimp of the Caridina genus.

Name Description
Cephalothorax The cephalothorax is the fused cephalon (head) and thorax (middle-section) of the shrimp. It contains organs such as the heart and gills.
Carapace The carapace is the section of the hard chitinous cuticle that covers the cephalothorax. Its main function is to protect the soft tissue underneath.
Rostrum The rostrum is the region of the carapace that extends past the eyes and projects ahead of the shrimp like a beak.
Eyes The eyes of a shrimp are compound eyes, and are usually stalked. They have sensory functions.
Antennae (Second) The antennae are paired appendages, each consisting of a long whiplike flagella, a base stalk known as an antennal peduncle, and a flat scale known as a scaphocerite. They have sensory functions.
Antennules (First antennae) The antennules are small antennae consisting of whiplike flagella and base stalks known as antennular peduncles. They have sensory functions.
Mandibles The function of the mandibles is to cut and grind food into smaller particles to be digested.
Maxillae The function of the maxillae is food handling.
Maxillipeds The function of the first two pairs maxillipeds is food handling, whereas the third pair often has a different function, such as holding down prey or grooming.
Pereiopods Pereiopods are the legs of the shrimp. The function of the hind three pairs is locomotion, whereas the front two pairs are more concerned with gathering food and grooming. These front legs often bear claws (known as chelae) or fans, and are known as as chelipeds.
Pleopods Pleopods are the ‘swimmerets’ of the shrimp, and their function is to allow the shrimp to swim. Females also use the pleopods for carrying eggs when brooding.
Abdomen The abdomen is the highly-muscled lower section of the body of the shrimp, which contains the digestive tract and reproductive organs. The muscle allows the shrimp to flex its abdomen powerfully to perform the backward escape response, also known as the caridoid escape reaction.
Abdominal somites The abdominal somites are the hard segmental plates of cuticle that cover the abdomen. Their function is to protecting the tissue and eggs underneath, but also allow for movement.
Tailfan The tailfan of a shrimp is simply its paddle-like ‘tail’, consisting of a pair of uropods that flank the telson. The function of the tailfan is to allow the shrimp to steer whilst swimming with rhythmic fanning of the pleopods. It also assists with the backward escape response.
Uropods The uropods have two sections: the endopod, which is closest to the telson, and the exopod, which is furthest from the telson.
Telson The telson is the extension past the abdominal somites.


  • “The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2009 57(2): 343-452
    K. Rintelen
    Y. Cai”:

Diagram showing Caridina species morphology.


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