Biodiversity & Conservation

A mantis shrimp - Rissoides desmaresti

Rissoides desmaresti

Image Rohan Holt - Rissoides desmaresti held in gloved hand. Image width ca 10 cm.
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Distribution map

Rissoides desmaresti recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

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Rissoides desmaresti is not listed under any importance categories.

Taxonomy icon Taxonomy Taxon English term
Phylum Arthropoda Arthropods, joint-legged animals, e.g. insects, crustaceans & spiders
Class Malacostraca Crabs, lobsters, sand hoppers and sea slaters
Authority (Risso, 1816)
Recent synonyms Meiosquilla desmaresti, Squilla desmaresti
Map icon 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).
Habitat information icon Habitat information 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.
Text page icon Description 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.
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 icon 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).

This review can be cited as follows:

Anna Neish 2003. Rissoides desmaresti. A mantis shrimp. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 29/11/2015]. Available from: <>