Smooth Bay Shrimp     Crangon stylirostris

Commonly used as fish bait, this small, two inch shrimp is found from Alaska to central California ranging from the intertidal zone to a minus 260 ft where waves and currents leave mainly a sandy bottom. 

This adult specimen displays the characteristics of the species: a short, stocky, sand-colored body with the main body part or carapace lacking a dorsal spine (hence the origin of "smooth" in the common name).  However, like other closely related species, the body coloration can vary with the background.  As a result it is sometimes difficult to recognize various Crangon species without a close examination of the body parts. 

While other types of shrimp defend themselves from predators using body spines, the Crangon group of shrimp use their cryptic coloration and sand burial to avoid predation.  They can swiftly burrow using their legs and pleopods (appendages under the muscular tail).  A final sweep of the antennae smoothes out the sand surface so only the eyes remain in view.  They feed from this hiding spot capturing small crustaceans and fish.  They also eat small clams.

Like most shrimp and crabs the young spend a lot of time as small members of the zooplankton community floating about and feeding on smaller creatures.  They also serve as food for a variety of other small animals as part of the vast marine food chain.  Adults are occasionally used locally for human food, but they are mainly eaten by a variety of animals ranging from anemones, crabs, octopuses, fish and young seals