Snakelocks shrimp (Periclimenes sagittifer)

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



Periclimenes sagittifer is a small shrimp reaching lengths of 3 cm found only in association with sea anemones. The transparent body has scattered blue or red dots, the limbs have blue or red bands, the second abdominal segment has an elongate white-pink transverse strip and the third abdominal segment has a white-pink chevron pointing posteriorly.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded only from Swanage Pier, Dorset, on mainland Britain but originally described from Jersey and also found in Guernsey.

Global distribution

From the southwest Channel south to the Strait of Gibraltar.


Periclimenes sagittifer is only found in association with anemones particularly with the snakelocks anemone Anemonia viridis. The relationship may be parasitic rather than commensal, as the shrimp has been observed eating the tips of the tentacles when kept in aquaria.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Rostrum well developed with 7-9 dorsal and 3-4 ventral teeth.
  • Second pereopods distinctly uneven.
  • Transverse stripe on the second abdominal segment.
  • Posteriorly directed chevron on the third abdominal segment.

Additional information

The related species, Periclimenes aegylios, found in the Mediterranean, is easily confused with Periclimenes sagittifer, but can be distinguished by the two oval spots and the more elongate chevron on the second and third abdominal segments. Grippa and d'Udekem d'Acoz (1994) in their review of the Periclimenes sp. of the Mediterranean state that the specimens described as being Periclimenes sagittifer by Alvarez (1968) in fact belong to another unknown species of Periclimenes.

Listed by

- none -



    1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

    2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2023-09-22


    This review can be cited as:

    Hosie, A.M. 2008. Periclimenes sagittifer Snakelocks shrimp. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 22-09-2023]. Available from:

    Last Updated: 22/12/2008