Opae Ula sexual dimorphism?
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:49 AM   #1
Rob in Puyallup
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Opae Ula sexual dimorphism?


As some of you already know, I have a tankful of Opae Ula, or Hawaiian Red Shrimp.

I've noticed some minor differences in the shrimp and wonder if what I see is sexual dimorphism. I've googled "sexual dimorphism in Halocaridina rubra" and got nothing. It's obvious to me that they can't be "sexed" the way we do with Crystals and Cherries.

Notice in the two photos the shape of the "claws"...

I assume in the first photo the subject is male, the second a female.

Any ideas?
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:51 AM   #2
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I don't really know much about the species themselves... but shrimp are generally the same.

Personally I can't tell the difference between the two. Gonna list a couple of things you can use as I have no other way of helping.

The curve of the body
The appearance of the ovaries (when backlit)
The shape of the claws (males have more fan-like claws for gripping females)
Females tend to have larger swimmers (the little fans that are under the last half of their bodies)
Males have pointy tails while females have broader tails.
In most shrimp the males are usually clear/spotted while the females are more vibrantly colored
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:55 AM   #3
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I know it's difficult to see in the photo, but in #1 the shrimp has claws very similar to a lobster, only very tiny, while in #2 the claws aren't obvious.

Body shape, though, seems to make me think that it's a FEmale in photo #1, a Male in photo #2.

If that is so, would we assume that it's the FEmale Opae Ula that has the dominant role (due to claw size) in their little shrimpy societies?
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:56 AM   #4
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I'm going to have to do some reading before I can answer your questions.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:00 AM   #5
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LOL! Good luck with that!
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:03 AM   #6
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I found numerous articles on how to raise the larvae, but none of those detail how to sex an adult shrimp. My Google-fu is not strong enough!

I did however find an interesting tidbit of information, their breeding habits are similar to those of crayfish, delving further in a Taxonomy book I've found that they're closely related to lobsters, digging even deeper online I found they are classified under micro-lobsters, but called shrimp for convenience purposes.

Might help you in sexing them a bit.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:06 AM   #7
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Exactly my problem. Dang!
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:08 AM   #8
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A better pic of big claws...
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVN View Post
I found numerous articles on how to raise the larvae, but none of those detail how to sex an adult shrimp. My Google-fu is not strong enough!

I did however find an interesting tidbit of information, their breeding habits are similar to those of crayfish, delving further in a Taxonomy book I've found that they're closely related to lobsters, digging even deeper online I found they are classified under micro-lobsters, but called shrimp for convenience purposes.

Might help you in sexing them a bit.
Okay... I'll take a look. Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:28 AM   #10
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I looked through every distributor's journals, even forums that have bred them before, none tell you anything about sexing them, only raising their larvae and the peculiar way they do it.

But then I found bits across several scientific research journals detailing the environments they live in because they're endangered!

Researchers report:
The first pair of swimmerets on the underside (from the top down) on the males are hard, females are soft. You can't really figure this out unless you crush your shrimp, LOL.

Males have larger "crusher" claws which they use to rip out algae, females have the same claws but smaller and pointier, used for digging in sand to find bacteria.

Coloration in females tends to be more solid, whereas males are usually spotted or translucent.

Females have broader tails, males have pointy tails.

And as with all other shrimp/lobsters/crayfish, the appearance of a saddle (ovaries) which extends from the base of their body to the end of their tail is very telling.

UHHH YEAH! THE POWER OF GOOGLE-FU!
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:31 AM   #11
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Dadgum, you're too good!

Thanks!

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:33 AM   #12
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OH YEAAAAH, THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO HEAR!

Anyways glad I could help. You did guess right the first time though, you must have some sort of shrimp sex sense!
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:34 AM   #13
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Lol!

I got something, that's for sure!

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob in Puyallup View Post
Lol!

I got something, that's for sure!

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S III using Tapatalk 2
im acutally going to order a little handbook about them and hopefully it should be able to tell the sex and reprduction of them..
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:48 PM   #15
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Default Male vs. female

I e-mailed a similar question to Pros. Scott Santos of
Auburn University. He and his people have researched this species quite extensively. Here is our e-mail chat:

> Hello Scott Santos,
>
> While I was researching halocaridina rubra on the internet I came across pictures that you took in Hawaii. Very nice. I have one question at this time. Are there noticable differences between males and females? ie. color, size Does the female have a noticable saddle when she is producing eggs?
>
> Thank you in advance,
> Ken P
Hi Ken,

Nice to meet you and thanks for the email.

In my experience, there is no easy way to visually identify males vs females based on gross overall appearance like size and/or color. We have had some luck sexing individuals via microscopy, but it is labor intensive and not always easy.

Hope this helps,

Scott

Here is a thread from David Weese a doctorate student under Pros Santos.

As far as sexing the shrimp, I haven't had any luck. When the females go reproductive its easy when they are carrying 12-24 eggs, but other then that I don't know. A couple of people have told me that when they go into reproductive mode you should be able to see the developing ovaries forming right behind the eyes in females or developing testes in males. However I have not been able to reliably sex them with any confidence yet.

Yet another question and answer:
Another question. Do you think this is a female?
> I suspect that the dark area on the shrimp's back are developing eggs.
>
> Ken P


Hi Ken,

I'm sorry to say, but I don't think you have a female there. What you are seeing is the hepatopancreas, which is part of the digestive system of arthropods like crustaceans and insects. Most people know it as the green spongy material that is encountered when they get up into the head area of their lobster dinner. I see it among individuals animals in my tanks at various intensities, some being more apparent (like your example) than others.

Cheers,

Scott
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