What is Baby Shrimp Called?

What is Baby Shrimp Called? (Detailed Explanation)

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Some of the easiest, most colorful additions to any aquarium are shrimp. With their flashy looks, curious nature, and tendency to breed prolifically, shrimp are fun and inexpensive pets that suit both new aquarium keepers and veteran tank owners alike. 

When you have two shrimp, chances are within weeks, you’ll have more. Shrimp will breed even in less than stellar environments, and now that you’ve got dozens of baby shrimps jetting around your tank, you’re probably wondering, what are baby shrimp called?

Baby shrimp are known by two terms, fry and shrimplets. Fry is the scientific term for baby shrimp, but because the term can be confused with the term for baby fish, which are also called fry, aquarium hobbyists have taken to calling baby shrimp shrimplets. 

Are Baby Shrimp Called Fry or Shrimplets?

It can be confusing when there are multiple terms being bandied around for a single creature, like baby shrimp. These minuscule copepods are sometimes simply called baby shrimp, but more than likely you’ll hear them referred to as fry or shrimplets. 

Oddly enough, neither of these terms is incorrect. 

Baby fish and shrimp are both known as fry, which can be confusing, especially if you keep a tank with both fish and shrimp. A single baby shrimp or a small group of baby shrimp is technically known as shrimp fry.

So what about the term shrimplets? 

So as to not confuse baby shrimp with baby fish, aquarium keepers commonly call baby shrimp shrimplets instead of fry. This term helps differentiate baby shrimp from other types of fry.

Adding the diminutive suffix -let to the end of a word implies something smaller than the original, so when you add -let to the end of shrimp to get shrimplet, you get a word for smaller, or baby, shrimp. 

Are There Other Words For Baby Shrimp?

When carrying for and raising baby shrimp, there are a few other words you may hear besides fry and shrimplet. These other terms can refer to groups of baby shrimp, newly hatched shrimp, groups of shrimp eggs, and adolescent shrimp.

The four other words that are commonly used to refer to baby shrimp are:

  • Berried
  • Larvae
  • Juvenile 
  • Clutch

What Does it Mean When a Shrimp is Berried?

If you suddenly notice one of your shrimp carrying a little something extra on their swimmerets, then it’s likely your shrimp is berried.

The term berried means that your shrimp is carrying eggs, which look like little round clutches of berries attached to their swimmerets. 

Depending on the type of shrimp and the age of the eggs, they can appear anywhere from dark green in color to nearly transparent. You’ll know when the eggs are ready to hatch when you can see the eye dots through the shell. 

Since shrimp lay eggs instead of giving live birth, they don’t become pregnant. When egg-laying animals are full of eggs or are carrying eggs on their body, they are usually known as gravid, but because of the unique appearance of a mother shrimp carrying eggs, she’s also known as being berried. 

What is Shrimp Larvae?

Directly after a shrimp hatches, they are known as larvae shrimp for a short period of time. Larvae as distinctive from regular juvenile shrimp because they swim upside down. After two weeks, the shrimp will be considered juveniles. 

Larval shrimp have large heads and small, thin bodies, which is why they swim upside down. They resemble tadpoles more than full-grown shrimp.

Something important to note is not all shrimp have a larvae stage!

The most popular freshwater shrimp in the aquarium hobby, the neocardinia, or cherry shrimp, completely skip the larval stage. Instead, they hatch into exact copies of their adult selves, growing larger and larger with each molt until they reach their full size. 

What is a Juvenile Shrimp?

A juvenile shrimp is the stage after larval and before adult. 

After hatching, some species of shrimp, like the opae ula, go through a larval stage, but others like the neocardinia enter straight into the juvenile stage. 

A shrimp is no longer considered a juvenile when it has either reached its full growth size, or is able to mate. Some species of shrimp will continue growing well into adulthood.

What is a Clutch of Shrimp?

While a mother shrimp carrying eggs is berried, the term for the group of eggs themselves, as well as the name for the group of newly hatched shrimp, is clutch. 

Clutch is a common term for a group of eggs, but it’s less common for the group of newly hatched animals to also be known as a clutch. 

Once the shrimp eggs hatch, the group of newborn shrimp will be referred to as a clutch until they molt and become juveniles. Even though they are known by a singular name, baby shrimp don’t group together. Once they are hatched, they will scatter to grow independently. 

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