MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A prawn (Palaemon elegans)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

Palaemon elegans is a typical prawn with a cylindrical body composed of a carapace at the front and six abdominal segments. It has a short straight rostrum in front of the eyes with distinctive dorsal and ventral teeth. Palaemon elegans is translucent with red/brown lines on the carapace and abdomen. Just below the large compound eye on each side is the antennule, which is divided into to three parts. Below the antennule is the antenna, which is divided into two parts; the short flat segment (the scaphocerite) and the long whip-like flagellum. The first two pairs of walking legs bear claws (chela) and have yellow and red banding.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

All around the coasts of Britain and Ireland

Global distribution

From south west Norway to south west Africa including the Baltic, Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caspian Sea and the Azores.

Habitat

Intertidal on rocky shores in rock pools around mid-tide level but sometimes higher. Moves offshore in winter in northern latitudes.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Large round-bodied prawn up to 6.3 cm in length.
  • Translucent with variable markings but generally red/brown horizontal or oblique lines on the carapace and vertical on the abdomen.
  • First two walking legs (pereiopods) chelate with yellow and brown banding.
  • Head region covered by a carapace with a short straight rostrum.
  • Rostrum with 7-9 dorsal teeth, 3 of which are behind the eye socket, and 3 ventral teeth.
  • Mandible with palp of 2 segments (requires microscopic examination).

Additional information

Palaemon elegans is very similar to Palaemon serratus, Palaemon longirostris and Palaemon adspersus but can be separated from these species by the number of rostral teeth and the mandibular palp, which is composed of two segments.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Bruce, J.R., Colman, J.S. & Jones, N.S., 1963. Marine fauna of the Isle of Man. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

  2. Crothers, J.H. (ed.), 1966. Dale Fort Marine Fauna. London: Field Studies Council.

  3. Foster-Smith, J. (ed.), 2000. The marine fauna and flora of the Cullercoats District. Marine species records for the North East Coast of England. Sunderland: Penshaw Press, for the Dove Marine Laboratory, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

  4. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  5. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 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.]

  6. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

  7. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: http://www.nbnatlas.org.  Accessed 01 April 2017

  8. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin., http://www.itsligo.ie/biomar/

  9. Smaldon, G., Holthuis, L.B. & Fransen, C.H.J.M., 1993. Coastal Shrimps and Prawns (Revised edn). Shrewsbury: Field Studies Council.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Neal, K.J. 2008. Palaemon elegans A prawn. 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/2035

Last Updated: 17/04/2008