Systellaspis braueri (Balss, 1914)

Common name(s): Quayle spinytail

Synonyms:  Systellaspis echinurus, Systellaspis densispina, Acanthephyra braueri
Phylum Arthropoda
 Subphylum Crustacea
  Class Malacostraca
   Subclass Eumalacostraca
    Superorder Eucarida
     Order Decapoda
      Suborder Pleocyemata
       Infraorder Caridea (true shrimp)
        Family Oplophoridae
Systellaspis braueri from 900 m depth 100 mi W of Point Conception, CA
(Photo by: Dave Cowles April 1996)
Description:  This is a true shrimp from the family Oplophoridae, which lives in deep midwater offshore.  True (Caridean) shrimp have the second abdominal epimera overlapping that of segment 1 and 2.  Family Oplophoridae is almost entirely midwater, has exopodites on its pereopods, and pereopods 1 and 2 are longer and more stout than the others.  Systellaspis have a well-developed rostrum, no horizontal carina on the carapace and no dorsal ridge on the sixth abdominal segment.  The telson ends in a sharp point, with spines on the sides.  They eyes are well pigmented, eggs are large. S. braueri has a rostrum no more than half as long as the carapace and no median dorsal spine at the posterior edge of abdominal segment 5.  The abdominal segments are not dorsally carinate.  The fourth and fifth abdominal segments are not toothed on either side of the median spine. It has a deep notch in the lower posterior margin of the 5th abdominal segment.  The 6th abdominal segment is twice as long as the 5th.  Total length to 138 mm.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Distinguished from S. cristata by its shorter, triangular rostrum (no more than half as long as the carapace) with the distal third free of spines.

Geographical Range: Northeastern Pacific at least from Vancouver Island to Los Angeles; Atlantic ocean, Indian Ocean.

Depth Range: 200 m to 4000 m

Habitat: Bathypelagic

Biology/Natural History: Systellaspis are uncommon (at least not abundant), deepliving bathypelagic species.  They do not appear to vertically migrate.

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Dichotomous Keys:
  Kozloff 1987, 1996
  Wicksten, 2009

General References:
Butler TH (1980) Shrimps of the Pacific Coast of Canada. The Canadian Bulletin of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 202: 1–280

Chase, Fenner A., 1986.  The Caridian Shrimps (Crustacea: Decapoda) of the Albatross Philippine Expedition, 1907-1910, Part 4:  Families Oplophoridae and Nematocarcinidae.  Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology Number 432.  Paperback, 82 pp.

Scientific Articles:

Wasmer, Robert A., 1967.  Bathypelagic shrimps (Penaeidea and Caridea) from the Eastern North Pacific.  Master's thesis, Walla Walla College.  86 pp.

General Notes and Observations:  Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:

For a mpg video showing the features used to distinguish Systellaspis braueri from S. cristata ( Mb), click here.

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2006):  Created original page