Sea Life

How Do Shrimp Swim?

How Do Shrimp Swim

Everyone needs to survive in their environment whether it be humans, animals, or sea creatures. We walk on legs, animals walk on legs. fish swim through fins but what about these amazing shrimps? They are literally 10-footed, having 10 legs, so how do they swim?

Shrimp are widespread, present everywhere in the deep and shallow water of all oceans, freshwater lakes, and streams as they live in both warm and cold waters. Some species of shrimp are of commercial importance for human consumption as food. 

 Let’s find out how this amazing crustacean can swim in water with its 10 legs. 

What Are Shrimps?

Shrimp is a type of marine crustacean just like shellfish that have an elongated flat body. They belong to the order ‘decapod’ which means they are 10-footed with five pair of legs. Their body is divided into 3 parts: a head, thorax, and abdomen. There are different species of shrimp and they are of different lengths ranging from some millimeters to 20 cm. In length.

Their mode of movement is swimming but they do not swim with fins. They have special and unique features that help them move in the water. They have slender legs that help them walk on the seafloor, appendages, and swimmerets that help them in the movement.  

Shrimps Fun Facts

Some really interesting fun facts about shrimps are:

  • Their life span is from 1-7 years if they survive predators. 
  • Larger shrimp are sometimes called prawns. 
  • They maintain the food chain as many larger fish and whales feed on shrimp to survive. 
  • It is the most commonly consumed shellfish.
  • It is low in calories and high in cholesterol.
  • It is highly nutritious. 

How Do Shrimp Swim?

Normally sea creatures like fish swim in the water using their fins but shrimps do not have fins to swim, they have other unique adaptations that help them swim. They have developed appendages known as pleopods (swimmerets) and slim legs that help them move in the water. 

Shrimps swim with the help of their muscular abdomen and long antennae. They paddle themselves with their swimmerets present below their abdomens. They move in flexing movements by pulling their flexible and narrow abdomen towards their body in the back-and-forth movement. This makes them move throughout the water and propel in a backward direction. 

Can Shrimp Swim Fast?

Yes, shrimp can swim and move fast. They have a strong tail muscle called a telson that helps them swim really fast as it creates strong and quick movement by generating rapid speed.

The quick swimming movement can help them escape their predators. When they sense any danger, they just contract their tail muscle and move away from it quickly.  

Why Do Shrimp Swim Backward?

Shrimps swim backward because they do not have fins to carry to swimming motion and move in the water like fish. They move by pulling their abdomen towards their body in quick movements which make them propel in the water quickly. This is why when they propel through water, they swim backward. 


Shrimp swim with the help of their developed appendages known as pleopods present below their abdomen and slim legs. They swim by paddling themselves with their swimmerets and move in flexing movements by pulling their flexible and narrow abdomen towards their body in the back-and-forth movement. 

About the author