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 Major Groups | Crustacea (crustaceans) | Malacostraca (malacostracans) | Decapoda (yabbies plus) | Palaemonidae


Major Group: Crustacea
Minor Group: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda

Descriptive Features:

  • carapace without complete longitudinal suture
  • rostrum immovable
  • antennule with 2 completely separate flagella
  • mandible usually with incisor process
  • 1st maxilla with mesial coxal lobe not unusually large
  • 2nd maxilla with no, 1, or 2 endites
  • 1st maxilliped with exopodal lash
  • 2nd maxilliped with distal segments articulating serially
  • 3rd maxilliped composed of no more than 6 segments
  • 1st and 2nd pair of pereopods distinctly chelate
  • 2nd pereopod with undivided carpus, with dactyl usually not distinctly serrate on extensor margin
  • epipods, if present, not large, not extending dorsally into branchial chamber
  • telson usually with 2 or 3 pairs of spines on posterior margin
  • Total length: up to 65 mm
  • Taxonomic Checklist: Genera

    Distribution: NT, Qld, WA, NSW, SA, Tas, Vic

    Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 4. Macrobrachium prawns are euryhaline.

    Functional Feeding Group: gathering collectors

    Ecology: Instream habitat: Palaemonid prawns occur in freshwater billabongs and in seasonally torrential streams as well as estuarine and brackish waters. They are found amongst vegetation and snags in littoral areas. Palaemon and Palaemontes are more commonly found in saline waters but also occur in freshwater. Macrobrachium is widespread in freshwaters. Macrobrachium microps lives only in underground water, usually in caves.
    Feeding ecology: Palaemonid prawns are omnivores and scavengers.
    Habit: The first and third pairs of legs are used for feeding. The enlarged second pair of legs, tipped with pincer-like claws, is used for fighting and self defence.
    Life history: Female palaemonid prawns display a “breeding dress” (setal changes on pleopods and abdominal segments) during the three month spawning period. They may spawn up to three times in a three month period, moulting between each spawning. Females of Macrobrachium australiense carry eggs between September and March. Macrobrachium larval development is more successful in brackish waters.
    Information Sources: Short et al. 2013, Davie 2002a, Gooderham & Tsyrlin 2003, Hawking & Smith 1997, Ingram et al 1997, Lee & Fielder 1982, Bruce & Short 1993
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