Pistol Shrimp (Alpheida) – Their Amazing Powers and Facts

Pistol shrimp are blind and mostly inhabit oyster reefs, coral reefs, and seagrass belonging to the family Alpheidae. They are mostly found in both seawater and freshwater bodies.

They are called pistol shrimps because the sound they produce with their claws is usually louder than that of a gunshot as th sound measures about 218 decibels.

Alphadae is characterized by having asymmetrical claws and are usually capable of making a loud snapping sound and they belong to the family of caridean snapping shrimps.

Other related names of animals in this group are known as pistol shrimp or Alpheid shrimp.

Pistol shrimps usually grow to a size of about 4 – 5 centimeters or 1 – 3 inches.

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How Pistol Shrimps Reproduce

Pistol Shrimp (Alpheida) – Their Amazing Powers and Facts

Shrimps are monogamous for a heeding season.

The mating process of the pistol shrimps starts with snapping, the female pistol shrimps usually molt first and they mate later.

Then every few weeks, the female molts while the male protects or guides her to keep her safe.

The eggs are then incubated under the female’s abdomen.

The larvae molt and transform into shrimp.

Pistol shrimps live for about 3 to 4 years in open range while in captivity, they live for 2 to 4 years as proven by researchers.

However, It is not advisable to keep them in an aquarium because they are capable of breaking glasses.

Predators of pistol shrimp include groupers, lionfish, triggers, hawkfish, etc.

Pistol shrimp can’t kill humans by just snapping its claw but it can kill a human if the human is allergic to shrimp, consumes one, and then suffers from anaphylaxis shock.

Pistol Shrimp Snapping Techniques

Shrimps produce a loud snapping sound by a rapid closure of the claw and its snapping sound is known to be one of the loudest snapping sounds in the oceans. 

Normally, the shrimps use its claw as an instrument for communication and weapon.

Therefore, the pistol shrimps are renowned for their powerful snapping technique.

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Habitat of Pistol Shrimp

Pistol shrimp are commonly or usually found in coral reefs, oyster reefs, and muddy estuaries.

Most pistol shrimps live or dwell in tropical temperate coastal and marine water.

Caring and Keeping Pistol Shrimps

It is relatively easy to take care of pistol shrimp, you can start by making sure that the invert has plenty of room to explore as the shrimps spend much of their time in its lair.

Always make sure you feed your shrimp regularly, provide them with mineral and iodine supplements to keep them healthy to enable their mooting process.

Feeding Methods of Pistol Shrimps

Pistol shrimps are detritus feeders and apart from feeding on detritus they also feed on small meaty foods such as brine shrimp, scallop, mussels, and Mysis shrimp.

Some Interesting Facts About The Pistol Shrimps

They are the loudest sea/ocean creature and when they are together in a group or colony, they tend to interfere with underwater communication and sonar.

They are very small in size and usually don’t grow more than 3 to 5cm in length, they are the major sources of noise in the ocean.

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The Mantis Shrimp

The mantis shrimp is a very big predator although depending on the species, their size could be about 15 inches (35cm).

The mantis shrimp in most cases becomes a winner in the confrontation with the pistol shrimp because it has a sturdier build than the pistol shrimp.

Pistol shrimps and mantis shrimps are not the same because the pistol shrimps are just about 1 to 2 inches while the mantis shrimps are about 8 to 10 inches.

The mantis shrimps can make a good hit than the pistol shrimp.

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut shrimp is a shrimp dish that is usually prepared using shrimp and coconut as the main ingredients.

It can be made as a crunchy dish with shrimp coated and well fried, pan-fried, or even baked (oven), they can prepare it and serve it on skewers.

Tiger Pistol Shrimp

The tiger pistol shrimp which is also known as the Alpheus bellulus belongs to the family species of snapping shrimp, it uses its extra-large claws to make a very by noise.

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Shrimps and Grits

Shrimp and grits are a traditional food or meal in the low countries of Georgia and coastal Carolinas.

Grits are most followed or accompanied by salmon croquettes or fried catfish.

Species of Shrimps

According to research, there are at least 300 species of shrimps in the world while only a small portion is available and these are the few categories pink, white, brown, and red.

The pink shrimp or white shrimp can be one of several different types or varieties.

White shrimps are tasty and sweeter but taste nuttier than pink shrimp.

Pink shrimps are typically pink and mostly seen behind the seafood counter, they are normally pink when raw.

The brown shrimp tend to have more mineral flavor than the pink or white shrimp and also have the ability to contain iodine.

Recently, the rock shrimp is often compared to the lobster because of its strong texture.

However, the rock shrimp can be a substitute for lobster as a more affordable protein.

The red shrimp are named after their shining red color. They are rich in flavor and firm structure.

Below are well-known names of some shrimps:

(1) Blue bolt shrimp

(2) Snowball shrimp

(3) Crystal shrimp

(4) Blue tiger shrimp

(5) Ghost or Glass Shrimp.

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The Difference between Shrimp and Prawn

Research has proven that the main anatomical difference between a prawn and a shrimp is their body structure or form.

Regarding their claws, prawns have three pairs of claw-like legs, while shrimp have only a single pair.

Prawns have longer legs compared to shrimp.

Also, their mode of reproduction is quite different.

In conclusion, pistol shrimp are some of the most powerful and most raucous critters in the world.

The pistol shrimp has two claws-likes, a small pincer, and an enormous snapper.

The snapper which tends to grow up to half the length of the shrimp’s body does not normally have two symmetrical halves like the pincer.

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Benadine Nonye

An Agric. Consultant & a Blogger- National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4ProfitsTV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: benadinenonye.

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