11 December 2012

Spot shrimp (Pandalus platyceros)

The spot prawn or spot shrimp, Pandalus platyceros, is also known as the California spot prawn and as the Alaskan prawn, names which tell us that the spot shrimp is found along the Pacific coast of North America, that is, from Alaska to San Diego, California (Cowles, 2005); but, they are also found in the Sea of Japan to the Korea Strait (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 1999).

As its name implies, this red shrimp has distinct white spots, which are found on the first and fifth segments on both sides of its back (Cowles, 2005). The name Pandalus has an obscure origin, but it may be related to the Old Sussex word, pandle, meaning 'shrimp', which is believed to have its origin from the Low Latin, 'pandalus' (Sussex Archaeological Society, 1859), which might be related to the Latin 'pandus', i.e., crook-backed (Hopper). The name 'platyceros' is of Latin meaning 'broad-horn' (Hopper).

Pandalus platyceros photo from Monterey Bay Aquarium

Spot shrimp belongs to Pandalidae family, which is protandrically hermaphroditic, that is, it initially develops and functions as a male and transforms into a female on the third or fourth year and remains as female onwards (Barr, 1973).  Male becomes sexually mature at a total length of 15 cm (Butler, 2011).  It uses Agarum fimbriatum and Agarum cribrosum kelp beds as nursery habitats (Marliave & Roth, 1995) 

They are nocturnal and epibenthic and are found in bed rocks to muddy sand substrates with adequate shelter for day light hiding. They are carnivorous and feed by scavenging dead animal materials and preying on amphipods, euphausids, limpets annelids and other shrimps (Barr, 1973)

They are popular seafood and the subject of an important fishery in British Columbia (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 1999).

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