Lebbeus groenlandicus (Fabricius, 1775)

Common name(s):  Spiny lebbeid

Phylum Arthropoda
 Subphylum Crustacea
  Class Malacostraca
    Subclass Eumalacostraca
      Superorder Eucarida
       Order Decapoda
         Suborder Pleocyemata
          Infraorder Caridea
           Family Hippolytidae (broken-back shrimp) (Now in family Thoridae)
Lebbeus groenlandicus from 100 m depth in San Juan Channel.  Length about 2.4 cm.
(Photo by: Dave Cowles, July 2002)
Description:  As with other hippolytid shrimp, this species has no exopodites on its pereopods, the carpus of pereopod 2 is divided into 3-7 subunits (articles, a "multiarticulated carpus"), and a rostrum is present but if it has dorsal spines they are not movable.  This species has 7 subunits (articles) in the carpus of pereopod 2, has 1 supraorbital spine,(photo), maxilliped 3 has no exopodite, the rostrum is longer than the eye and reaches just beyond the middle of the antennal scale, and the pleura of abdominal segments 2 and 3 end in sharp points.  The carapace has 4 large, forward-pointing spines on the mid-dorsal line.  Usually translucent with brown or reddish-brown bands.  Total length to 10.7 cm, usually less than 4 cm.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: We often catch this species in the same deep San Juan Channel otter trawls as Paracrangon echinata.  The two species look superficially similar but Paracrangon has only 4 walking legs, is not as strongly red, has a longer rostrum, and typically assumes a defensive cataleptic posture when threatened.  Several other Lebbeus species have rounded ends on the pleura of abdominal segments 2 and 3.

Geographical Range: Circumboreal.  Bering Sea to Puget Sound in our area.

Depth Range: Very low intertidal (juveniles) to 518 m

Habitat: Soft bottoms with sand, gravel, and shells

Biology/Natural History:

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Dichotomous Keys:
  Kozloff 1987, 1996
  Wicksten, 2009

General References:
  Jensen, 1995

Scientific Articles:

General Notes and Observations:  Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:
Supraorbital spine
This closeup dorsal view of the head (the animal is facing to the left) shows the supraorbital spines. Lebbeus groenlandicus has one supraorbital spine between the eye and the rostrum.

Lebbeus groenlandicus sometimes assumes this cataleptic posture when disturbed, but seems less prone to do so than is Paracrangon echinata.
Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2000


Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2008.  Note the brown and white bands on the body and antennae.

From Sea of Okhotsk

This adult female is from the Sea of Okhotsk, Russian Far East.  Photograph taken by Andrey Gontchar of  the Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO).  It was captured May 9, 2008 at a depth of 235 m near the coast of southwestern Kamchatka.

Some of the anatomical landmarks on Lebbeus groenlandicus. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2023

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2005):  Created original page