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 elongated white-pink transverse strip and the third abdominal segment has a white-pink chevron pointing posteriorly.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Originally described from Jersey but first recorded in Britain from Swanage in 2007, it is now recorded from Bournemouth, Swanage and Weymouth Bay, with recent records in Torbay (2015) and Falmouth (2019). It is also recorded in Jersey and Guernsey. 

Global distribution

Recorded 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 elongated chevron on the second and third abdominal segments. Grippa & 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) belong to another unknown species of Periclimenes.

Listed by

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  1. Alvarez, R.Z., 1968. Crustaceos Decapoda od Ibericos. Investigacion Pesquera, Barcelona, 32, 1-510.

  2. Grippa, G.B. & d'Udekem d'Acoz, C., 1994. The genus Periclimenes Costa, 1844 in the Mediterranean Sea and the northeastern Atlantic Ocean: review of the species and description of Periclimenes sagittifer aegylios subsp. nov. (Crustacea, Decapoda, Caridea, Pontoniinae). Atti della Societa Italiana di Scienze Naturali e del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano, 135(2), 401-412


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

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-06-12


This review can be cited as:

Hosie, A.M. 2024. Periclimenes sagittifer Snakelocks shrimp. In Tyler-Walters H. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 12-06-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 24/04/2024