Caprella spp. (Skeleton shrimp)


Skeleton shrimps are not true shrimps, they are actually amphipods! They are very difficult to identify to species level, due to the number of species and their size. Most belong to the genus of Caprella. They have long thin, jointed bodies with 2 sets of antennae, a set of large grasping claws and saclike gills below them, they have backward facing hooks and the lower 3 segments of their body for gripping. They live in groups of a dozen up to several thousands.


Common in all oceans, but often overlooked.


Tropical Pacific. They inhabit hydroids, sponges, gorgonians and mooring lines. They also have been reported to cling to sea stars, crustaceans, sea cucumbers and even bottom dwelling fish. They live in depths of 1-3500 meters.



Up to 3cm. Males are considerably larger than females.

Prey / Predation

They feed on plankton which they filter out of the water column with their claws.

Special features