Animal Species:Freshwater Shrimp

Paratya australiensis is the most widespread freshwater shrimp in eastern Australia.

Freshwater Shrimp swimming in creek

Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies © Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies

Standard Common Name

Freshwater Shrimp

Identification

This small, translucent species is often mistaken as the young of a yabbie.

Size range

7 cm

Similar Species

Yabbie

Distribution

The Freshwater Shrimp is found in Central Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

Habitat

The Freshwater Shrimp lives in freshwater creeks and streams.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The Freshwater Shrimp is common in Sydney's freshwater creeks and streams, and is an important food source for many fishes and the Platypus.

Classification

Species:
australiensis
Genus:
Paratya
Family:
Atyidae
Infraorder:
Caridea
Suborder:
Pleocyemata
Order:
Decapoda
Superorder:
Eucarida
Class:
Malacostraca
Subphylum:
Crustacea
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?


Last Updated:

Tags shrimps, crustaceans, invertebrates, arthropods, wildlife of sydney, identification,

3 comments

jap - 4.11 PM, 07 November 2011
I live just outside ipswich qld and have found a freshwater prawn in my creek, (bundamba ck) but according to avail info it shouldn't be there! can anyone shed some light on this?
Martyn Robinson - 10.03 AM, 16 March 2010

Hello Carlo,

I think what you might have hooked is actually what are called freshwater or long-armed prawns (the terms 'shrimp' and 'prawn' seem to be based mainly on size and very little else!). The members of this genus (Macrobrachium) can get very large with Macrobrachium rosenbergi of northern Australia and S.E.Asia growing to more than 30 cm body length - add in the almost same length of long spindly 'arms' and you have a very large (and tasty) crustacean. This giant species has an estuarine nymphal stage and is widely used in aquaculture overseas but many others in Australia are wholly freshwater dwellers. At a number of places along the Murray you can wade in the water and feel dozens of these 'prawns' picking at any scabs on your legs or trying to remove the leg hairs! If you type the name Macrobrachium into a search engine you should find many references and images of these animals.

Sincerely

Martyn Robinson

carlo - 11.03 PM, 13 March 2010
All the information re freshwater shrimp indicate they grow to no more than about 70mm. Many years ago I accidently foul hooked a crustacean while fishing in Lake Mulwala near Bundalong. This particular 'animal' had the body size of an average yabbie (shrimp shape) but long thin legs, proportionately similar to a shrimp, roughly 150 to 200mm long. I always assumed it was a large shrimp but I have caught hundreds since and none even remotely approach the size. The mere fact that it was caught on a baited fishing line and hook speaks for itself. Is there some known crustacean that lives in the Murray system that fits this description that I don't know about, was it possibly one of the last of an otherwise unknown species or has anyone else seen a 'shrimp' that fits this description.

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