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Ed Mooers, age 9, of Sarasota, Fla., for his question:


Many species o= shrimp can be found along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Like his close relatives the crayfish, lobsters and crabs, the shrimp  called a decapod crustacean  is encased in a shell and has a body divided into cephalothorax and abdomen.

The abdomen is well developed and ends in a fan like swimming organ.

Our fiend the shrimp has a number of appendages. You'll find a pair of antennules and antennae, a pair of mandibles or jaws, two pairs of maxillae, three pairs of maxillipeds, five pairs of walking legs and six pairs of abdominal or swimming appendages.

Shrimps breathe by means of gills, which are located in gill chambers on each side of the thorax and are attached to the legs, joints and body wall. The creatures range in size from half an inch to six and a half inches long.

Shrimps and prawns  a type of larger shrimp  are important food industries. Largest catches are made on the southern Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Many millions of pounds are processed every year.

Along the southern Atlantic coast inshore fishing is practiced and the shrimp are sought in inside waters and along the beaches. Offshore fishing is practiced in the Gulf of Mexico with the shrimp being caught at greater depths in outside waters.

Spawning occurs between  and September in outside waters. The eggs, which are cast into the water, drift into waters where hatching takes place. The young shrimp sink to the bottom and during the winter grow very little. When spring arrives and the shrimp matures, he grows rapidly.

The shrimp eventually work their way back to the outside water.

Since larger shrimp migrate to warmer and deeper waters during the winters the winter catch around coastal bays and

rivers consists mainly of the smaller size. Shrimp are caught with otter trawls.

Half of the annual shrimp catch is sold fresh, with the remainder being marketed as canned, dried, cooked and frozen products.

The abdomen is the part that furnishes meat. The dried heads and hulls supply a byproduct used in animal feed. X

Some species of shrimp can be found on the Pacific coast from the Bering and Arctic seas to Central America. They are, for the most part, small in size and taken with trawls and bag nets.

Alaskan shrimp are marketed chiefly as fresh cooked meat, Puget Sound shrimp as whole cooked shrimp in the shell and California shrimp as cooked meat or whole cooked shrimp.


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