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Peneus setiferus, an edible shrimp—Marineland of Florida
Any of approximately 2,000 decapod species (suborder Natantia) having a semitransparent body flattened from side to side and a flexible abdomen terminating in a fanlike tail. The appendages are modified for swimming, and the antennae are long and whiplike. Shrimps occur in shallow and deep ocean waters and in lakes and streams. Species range from less than an inch (a few millimeters) to about 8 in. (20 cm) long. Larger species are often called prawns. Shrimps swim backward by rapidly flexing the abdomen and tail. They eat small plants and animals; some species eat carrion. Many species are commercially important as food. See alsofairy shrimp.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on shrimp, visit Britannica.com.