Approximately 150 freshwater species in North America

Phylum:Arthropoda (Subphylum Crustacea)

Identification Tips:

• Shrimp-like body form
• Typically swim rapidly on their sides
• Body flattened side-to-side
• Can be various colours
• Body segments grouped into three regions
• 2 pair of antennae, of approximately equal length
• 7 pair of legs on thorax
• 6 pair of smaller appendages on abdomen

Life History:

• Live in all types of permanent freshwater habitats, most commonly at shallow depths
• Most are nocturnal
• Feed primarily on plant or animal detritus, algae, fungi and bacteria
• Breathe using gills at base of legs
• Most live for 1 year or less
• Important food source for fish, birds and amphibians
• Females brood eggs in a pouch and release hatched young when they shed their skin to grow

Very SensitiveSomewhat SensitiveFacultativeSomewhat TolerantVery Tolerant

Primary Information Source:
Voshell, J. Reese. 2002. A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company. Blacksburg, Virginia.