A mantis shrimp (Rissoides desmaresti)

NBN Interactive26-06-2003

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Researched byAnna Neish Refereed byAdmin
Authority(Risso, 1816)
Other common names- SynonymsMeiosquilla desmaresti (Risso, 1816), Squilla desmaresti (Risso, 1816)



Rissoides desmaresti is a burrowing shrimp about 10 cm long. The body is elongate with a small shield shaped carapace. The chelipeds (claws) are large and characteristically mantis-like for capturing prey. The raptorial claws are the spearing type compared to the club type also of mantis shrimps and have 5 spines on the terminal segment (dactylus) for capturing and holding prey.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Small numbers of Rissoides desmaresti have been recorded on the south and west coasts of the British Isles in a few isolated places. An extensive bed of 25 hectares has recently been found in north Wales (Ramsay & Holt, 2001).

Global distribution

More commonly found in the Mediterranean. Also found on the Atlantic coast of Europe and northwards to the southern British waters.


The species creates a simple burrow systems in sandy, gravely mud sediments from the lower shore down to 15 to 50 m deep. In dense distributions 1 burrow per m² can be found. The burrows are a elongated U-shape with only 2 openings, one wider than the other.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Large shrimp found in burrows.
  • Elongated body of about 10 cm.
  • Large raptorial claws on second pair of thoracic legs.
  • Dactylus of raptorial claw with 5 spines.

Additional information

Can be distinguished from Platysquilla eusebia, the only other British mantis shrimp species, by the number of spines on the dactylus of the raptorial claw. Rissoides desmaresti has 5 spines and Platysquilla eusebia has 12-15 spines. Occasionally catches of Rissoides desmaresti sometimes generates press coverage and suggestions of global warming. The species has been recorded in the Plymouth area since 1900 including intertidally in Salcombe harbour (MBA, 1957).

Listed by

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Further information sources

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  1. Holt, R.H.F., 1999. Crustaceans: Mantis Shrimp Rissoides desmaresti http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/BMLSS/Mantis.htm, 2002-12-04

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. (ed.), 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  3. Mauchline, J., 1984. Euphausiid, Stomatopod and Leptostracan Crustaceans. Leiden, The Netherlands: E.J. Brill Publishing Company.

  4. MBA (Marine Biological Association), 1957. Plymouth Marine Fauna. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

  5. Moore, J., 2002. An atlas of marine Biodiversity Action Plan species and habitats and Species of Conservation Concern in Wales, 2nd edn. Report to the Countryside Council for Wales, CCW Contract Science Report no. 509.

  6. Ramsay, K., & Holt, R.H.F., 2001. Mantis shrimps Rissoides desmaresti in Tremadog Bay, North Wales. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 81, 695-696.


This review can be cited as:

Neish, A.H. 2003. Rissoides desmaresti A mantis shrimp. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1887

Last Updated: 26/06/2003