Systellaspis cristata (Faxon, 1893)
Common name(s): Krygier's spinytail
Infraorder Caridea (true shrimp)
|Systellaspis cristata, caught off Point Conception, CA at 600-750 m depth.|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles, Sept 1995)|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: S. braueri has a shorter, triangular rostrum (no more than half as long as the carapace) with the distal third free of spines. S. debilis, which lives further south, does have a long rostrum but does not have the sinuous lateral or ventral carina on the carapace. Its 6th abdominal segment is also only about 1 2/3 as long as the 5th and it has dorsolateral rows of not more than 10 spines on the telson.
Geographical Range: Vancouver Island to Gulf of Panama, Bay of Biscay to Angola in the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean. Type specimen was captured near Panama.
Depth Range: 600-2500 m
Biology/Natural History: This bathypelagic
species is not very common. Only 2 individuals have been recorded
captured off British Columbia (Butler, 1980). Atlantic individuals
carry large reddish-orange eggs.
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Butler TH (1980) Shrimps of the Pacific Coast of Canada. The Canadian Bulletin of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 202: 1–280
Chace, Fenner A., 1986. The caridean shrimps (Crustacea: Decapoda) of the Albatross Philippine expedition, 1907-1910, Part 4: Families Oplophoridae and Nematocarcinidae. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 432
The photographs below are of an individual we captured at 800 m depth Northwest of Oahu, Hawaii on New Horizon cruise NH96-2 trawl 87. Photographs of a formalin-preserved specimen taken by Dave Cowles, January 2013. Note that when preserved the animals lose almost all their dark red pigment.
Whole individual. Carapace length 1.9 cm. Notice how the 6th abdominal segment is twice as long or more than the 5th abdominal segment, and that it does not have a dorsal carina. Also note that abdominal segments 3, 4, and 5 have a posteromesial spine.
Lateral view of abdominal segments 2-3. Segment 2 has no dorsal carina nor posteromesial spine, while segment 3 has both a carina and a spine.
Dorsal (slight angle) view of the uropods and telson. The spiny endpiece on the telson has been slightly damaged but the long lateral spines at the base can still be seen. A few of the dorsolateral spines along the telson can also be seen along the top margin.
This side view of the head shows the long, toothed rostrum which extends out to near the end of the antennal scales (which are deflected downward out of view in this photo)
The three characteristic carinae which run nearly to the posterior end of the carapace can be seen in this side view. Dorsally there is a carina which runs from the rostrum (left) to near the posterior end of the carapace on the right. A small, sinuous carina runs from near the eye along the mid-side of the carapace. In this photo a number of bubbles are adhered to it. A sharp carina lines the ventral margin of the carapace. In this preserved specimen the ventral carina has retained much of its red color while the rest of the carapace has faded to yellow.