Image: Julian Finn / Museums Victoria
Community type

Aquatic herbland

Habitat type

Tidal wetlands and macrophytes beds

Freshwater shrimp are classified in the order Decapoda, which includes the more familiar prawns, crayfish and crabs. These small animals have a well defined carapace (shell) and are often mistaken for baby yabbies. They have a translucent body and a vigorous backward-flicking escape response. The Glass Shrimp (Paratya australiensis) is the most widespread and common freshwater shrimp in eastern Australia and Tasmania, growing up to 4.5 cm long. Freshwater shrimp live in freshwater creeks and streams, especially in slow flowing lower reaches of weedy creeks and streams. Freshwater shrimp and prawns, yabbies and freshwater crayfish are all generally sensitive to water pollution.They are the major food source for most fish species, as well as platypus and eels. Because shrimp are a favourite food of introduced trout, fisherman often make ‘flies’ by tying twine around a hook to resemble shrimp.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.