Chameleon prawn (Hippolyte varians)
|Researched by||Sonia Rowley||Refereed by||Admin|
|Authority||Leach, 1814 [in Leach, 1813-1814]|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandHippolyte varians is widely distributed around the coasts of Britain and Ireland, but is more commonly recorded in the south than north and probably under recorded.
HabitatThis species can be found in rock pools, gullies, amongst algae and Zostera beds from the lower shore down to 150 m depth.
- Up to 3.2 cm in length.
- Variable in colour: red, brown, green, flecked reddish-brown, almost transparent with red and yellow blotches.
- The rostrum bears a single spine on its upper surface.
- A spine above each eye.
- The telson has two pairs of lateral spines.
Additional informationThe chameleon prawn uses its variable colouration as camouflage during the day, but all turn a transparent bluish-green at night independent of habitat (Moen & Svensen, 2004). This species breeds throughout the year with increased intensity during the summer months. Hippolyte varians may be infected by the bopyrid isopod Bopyrina ocellata (Smaldon, 1993).
The tufts of setae present on some individuals of Hippolyte varians led Gosse (1853) to classify it as a differenent species; Hippolyte fascigera. However, this was later invalidated by Chassard-Bouchard (Smaldon, 1993).
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Last Updated: 08/05/2008