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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Eumalacostraca
Order Decapoda
Family Hippolytidae

Parhippolyte sterreri (Hart & Manning, 1981)

Click here to view the full size image Synonyms:
Somersiella sterreri Hart & Manning, 1981

Taxonomic Characterization: Large, bright red shrimp with characteristic white bands on leg joints and three white spots on tail. Carapace with antennal and branchiostegal spines. Rostrum broad, length about 2.5 times depth, short, scarcely overreaching basal segment of antennular peduncle. Eyes pigmented, cornea broader than stalk. Seven arthrobranchs, one on the second maxilliped, two on the third and one on each of the anterior four pereopods (Hart & Manning, 1984).

 Disposition of Specimens: Male holotype and female paratype from Bermuda deposited in National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, catalog numbers USNM 184016-7.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Postorbital carapace length to 24.9 mm (30.7 mm including rostrum) in female paratype from Bermuda (Hart & Manning, 1984).

Number of Species in Genus: Three

Genus Range:

  • Aldabra: P. uveae Borradaile, 1899
  • Bahamas:
    • Exuma Cays: P. sterreri (Hart & Manning, 1981) reported in Wicksten, 1996
    • Grand Bahama: P. sterreri (Hart & Manning, 1981) observed by Iliffe
    • Andros: P. sterreri (Hart & Manning, 1981) observed by Iliffe
  • Bermuda: P. sterreri (Hart & Manning, 1981)
  • Fiji: P. uveae Borradaile, 1899
  • Funafuti Atoll: P. uveae Borradaile, 1899
  • Hawaii: P. uveae Borradaile, 1899
  • Loyalty Islands: P. uveae Borradaile, 1899
  • Mexico
    • Cozumel: P. sterreri (Hart & Manning, 1981) reported in Kensley, 1988
    • Gulf of California: P. cavernicola Wicksten, 1996
  • Molluca Islands: P. uveae Borradaile, 1899
  • Philippines: P. uveae Borradaile, 1899
Click here to view the full size image

Species Range:

  • Bahamas:
    • Exuma Cays: Wicksten, 1996
    • Grand Bahama
      • Cemetery and Chimney Caves, Silver Point Blue Hole (Brooks, 1987)
    • Andros: observed by Iliffe
  • Bermuda:
    • Tucker's Town and Chalk Caves (Hart & Manning, 1981)
  • Mexico
    • Cozumel: Kensley, 1988

Closest Related Species: Closely related to P. uveae from anchialine pools of Fiji and Indonesia in the Indo West Pacific. P. uveae was recently featured on a postage stamp from Fiji making it the first anchialine species so honored. According to the accompanying documentation:

  Fiji stamp

Fiji stamp: showing sacred red prawn

"Red Prawns (Parhippolyte uveae) probably exist in Fiji because their bright red color created village superstitions, which promised shipwreck, even death to those who were tempted to remove them. Called sacred prawns by Fijians (or 'ura buta' - cooked prawn - because of their color) they are found in only two locations in Fiji: the island of Vatulele and Naweni Village on Vanua Levu. Both habitats are lava rock pools with salty, brackish water, near but not connected to the sea. In both locations, villagers need chiefly approval to approach the ponds, and both areas practice a solemn ritual of 'calling the prawns' to which the prawns seem to respond."

Habitat: Anchialine and marine caves

Ecology: Collected from inland anchialine caves from Bermuda and ocean blue holes and caves from the Bahamas and Yucatan.

Life History: An ovigerous female from Cozumel carried an estimated 2,000 tiny eggs attached to its pleopods. The small size of these eggs would suggest an extended planktonic larval stage (Kensley, 1988).

Evolutionary Origins: The genus Parhippolyte exhibits a Tethyan distributional pattern.

Conservation Status: Inhabits anchialine and marine caves from a wide area of the tropical Western Atlantic ranging from Yucatan to Bermuda.


  • Brooks, M. 1987. A discussion of the shrimps (Crustacea: Decapoda: Natantia) inhabiting the marine blue holes on the South Shore of Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas. Unpublished report, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida 59 pages, 21 figures.
  • Hart, C.W., Jr. and R.B. Manning 1981. The cavernicolous caridean shrimp of Bermuda (Alpheidae, Hippolytidae, and Atyidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology, 1(3): 441-456, 7 figures.
  • Kensley, B. 1988. New species and records of cave shrimps from the Yucatan Peninsula (Decapoda: Agostocarididae and Hippolytidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology, 8(4): 688-699, 77 figures.
  • Manning, R.B. and C.W. Hart, Jr. 1984. The status of the hippolytid shrimp genera Barbouria and Ligur (Crustacea: Decapoda): A reevaluation. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 97(3): 655-665, 6 figures.
  • Wicksten, Mary K. 1996. Parhippolyte cavernicola, new species (Decapoda: Caridea: Hippolytidae) from the tropical eastern Pacific, with taxonomic remarks on the genera Somersiella and Koror. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 16: 201-207.


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