Shrimps are a common feature of most Victorian rockpools. Most species, however, aren’t that easy to identify. They move quickly and can have translucent features. This guide aims to help amateur naturalists and beachcombers identify the common species of shrimps, prawns and lobsters.
How Is The Information Structured?
There are 32 pages dedicated to the introductory content, with the remaining 80 dedicated to species profiles. This allows the reader to get a solid understanding of the basics without getting overwhelmed. The introduction covers taxonomy, habitats and ecology. The tone is very beginner-friendly, although it is likely that you will need to return to these chapters to remember specific terms.
The later chapters are organized into either orders, infraorders or subfamilies. While that sounds complex, it is just a method of grouping similar species. The chapters are then broken down into families and, finally, species. Each family is briefly described.
Some chapters are relatively short; featuring just two families and one species per family. However, I found the structure easy to follow.
Most of the species featured are the different types of shrimp. There are only a couple of species in the chapters for krill, lobsters and prawns. I was initially overwhelmed by the inclusion of additional species, but it is understandable considering the physical similarities.
Each page features 2-3 profiles. These profiles have information on the species physical attributes, habitats/range and size. In some sections, the species description is just three lines. I would have been interested in additional information, even if that information fell outside the range of a standard field guide. The information, however brief, is useful. They focus on the differences between species, especially in cases where some species look superficially alike.
In most cases, you get one image of a species. In some cases, you can get up to three images if the species has variations. I was frustrated with the image quality of some species, but this is understandable considering their small size. I also would have liked maps of a species known range.
Do I recommend it?
I wouldn’t recommend this for the casual naturalist. The size of the shrimp and their quick movements can make identification difficult. I’d recommend a general marine guide or the guide to crabs.
This book is great if you’ve developed a special interest in shrimps. You will likely need to track down additional resources; however, the guide should suffice for identification.