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Peppermint shrimp

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Peppermint shrimp
Peppermint Shrimp.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Lysmata wurdemanni [1]

Lysmata wurdermanni.jpg
Lysmata wurdemanni in its natural habitat

Peppermint shrimp is a species of shrimp known by the scientific name Lysmata wurdemanni. They are perhaps best known for their hard, transparent bodies that have red and white stripes from which they get their name "peppermint". However, there is another shrimp that looks similar to the Peppermint shrimp; it is called L. rathbunae. These two species look every similar and both often sold as a peppermint shrimp.[2]

Body Design

Peppermint shrimp are small saltwater invertebrates. Like most shrimp, the Peppermint shrimp has an extremely hard body shell as a protective agent. As general knowledge, the shrimps of the world vary from size, shape and color, this particular shrimp is about 2 inches long with attached antennae of about the same length; They have transparent bodies with the coloring that is like that of a candy cane with the white and red corresponding colors.[3]

Life Cycle

Peppermint Shrimp eggs.

Generally, Peppermint Shrimp have an extensive life cycle. When the female lays her eggs, she will lay about 50,000 to 1 million eggs at a time. A single egg is about 1/64th of an inch in diameter. Spawning occurs mostly in highly salted ocean waters. A few days after the egg is laid, it hatches in to a Nauplius, (Nauplius’ are classified as Plankton). [4]

There are five stages of the Nauplius. They are about the same size as the egg, and grow with each stage. The next stage of the shrimps’ life cycle is the Protozoa (which is also classified as plankton). There are three separate divisions of this part of the life cycle, which range in size from 1/25 an inch to 1/2 of an inch. During this stage the Protozoa mouth parts and the abdomen starts to development. The fourth stage is called Mysis. There are three other stages, ranging in size from 1/8th to 1/5th of an inch. Within these stages the legs and antennae develop. The fifth stage has two individual divisions. They grow about 1/4 of an inch during this part of development. The post larval look more like miniature shrimp by this time and the shrimp can swim and have legs. In the second part of the post larval stage, they ride the tides into the estuaries and become active. In the sixth stage (juvenile), the shrimp grow rapidly, and look just like adult Peppermint Shrimp accepted a little smaller. During this division, the shrimp usually stay in marshes and creeks until reaching full size and are moving into rivers. The second to last stage is the "sub-adult" stage. The shrimp move into deeper waters of the estuaries and remain there for about a month, and then finally move into the tropical oceans. Adult peppermint shrimp are about 2 inches in diameter, and live in warm tropical oceans. [5]

Unlike most shrimp, the peppermint shrimp is a hermaphrodite, and it can be very difficult to raise larvae through the various stages.[6] Adult peppermint shrimp reproduce year round, the female organs can produce eggs every 10 to 12 days.[7]


A map of the region the Peppermint shrimps natural habitat.

Peppermint shrimp are small saltwater invertebrates. They are typically found in warm tropical oceans like the eastern side of the Atlantic, off the coasts of Florida and the Caribbean. Peppermint shrimp are carnivores and like to eat aiptasia (glass anemone), this is one of the main reasons peppermint shrimp are put into tropical saltwater tanks. Peppermint shrimp are territorial, they will fight with other shrimp species but not other peppermint shrimp.[8] Peppermint shrimp are considered to be low maintenance, if the peppermint shrimp is in a tank, the tank must maintain at least 76-84°F.

Aquarium Care

Peppermint shrimp are easy to take care in a tank, unless it is a reef tank. The shrimp might steal food from the coral, and they might pick at them as well, other than that they are every peaceful shrimp. These shrimp do not live much longer than two years, and do not grow up to be longer than 2 inches (5 cm). Peppermint shrimp are mostly peaceful creatures, however, they might fight with other species of shrimp. A normal size tank would be about 10 gallons or more. Peppermint shrimp love to hang out around live rock. These type of shrimp are carnivorous and will eat aiptasia which is a tank pest. If there is not a aiptasia for the shrimp to eat then all you have to do is drop a little piece of meat into the tank every few days. [9] The tank should maintain 76°-84°F, and every few days add a few drops of Calcium, Magnesium, Iodine, and Trace Elements to help the shrimp molt.[10]