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The Seashore

Mysids - the Opossum Shrimps

A female opossum shrimp carrying eggs

A female opossum shrimp carrying eggs

These active swimmers are a primitive group not to be confused with shrimps and prawns. They are 1 - 2 cm long, very transparent bodied and there are a number of different species but all fairly similar.

They feed on organic debris, bacteria and diatoms. Even other, small crustaceans. Food is collected by creating a current of water by beating the water with their thoracic appendages.They fall prey to fish, especially flounder. During mating the sperm is deposited in the brood pouch and then the eggs are laid into teh pouch. The eggs then develop in the pouch to emerge as young mysids after about 2 weeks.

Opossum Shrimps live in great abundant in estuarine waters. They group in great “shoals” at the waters edge on an incoming tide. They can penetrate high up the estuary, virtually into freshwater. They can be found in smaller number elsewhere in seawater, including rockpools.


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