Shrimp

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Shrimp are swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water. Adult shrimp are filter feeding benthic animals living close to the bottom. They can live in schools and can swim rapidly backwards. Shrimp are an important food source for larger animals from fish to whales. They have a high tolerance to toxins in polluted areas, and may contribute to high toxin levels in their predators. Together with prawns, shrimp are widely caught and farmed for human consumption.

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Taxonomy

A number of more or less unrelated crustaceans share the word "shrimp" in their common name. Examples are the mantis shrimp and the opossum or mysid shrimp, both of which belong to the same class (Malacostraca) as decapods including shrimp, but constitute two different orders within it, the Stomatopoda and the Mysidacea. Triops longicaudatus and Triops cancriformis are also popular animals in freshwater aquaria, and are often called shrimp, although they belong instead to the Notostraca, a quite unrelated group.

Biological definition

The class Malacostraca contains about half of the crustaceans. The members of this class have a primitive body plan that can be described as shrimp-like, consisting of a 5-8-7 body plan. They have a small carapace that encloses the head and the thorax, and have a muscular abdomen for swimming. They also have a thin exoskeleton to maintain a light weight. These general characters are common in all members of the class.

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