Crangon crangon is a commercially important species of caridean shrimp fished mainly in the southern North Sea, although also found in the Irish Sea, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Black Sea, as well as off much of Scandinavia and parts of Morocco's Atlantic coast.[1] Its common names include brown shrimp, common shrimp, bay shrimp, and sand shrimp, while translation of its French name crevette grise (or its Dutch equivalent grijze garnaal) sometimes leads to the English version grey shrimp.


The chelae of C. crangon from below

Adults are typically 30–50 mm (1.2–2.0 in) long, although individuals up to 90 mm (3.5 in) have been recorded.[2] The animals have cryptic colouration, being a sandy brown colour, which can be changed to match the environment.[2] They live in shallow water, which can also be slightly brackish, and feed nocturnally.[2] During the day, they remain buried in the sand to escape predatory birds and fish, with only their antennae protruding.

Crangon is classified in the family Crangonidae, and shares the family's characteristic subchelate first pereiopods (where the movable finger closes onto a short projection, rather than a similarly sized fixed finger) and short rostrum.[3]

Distribution and ecology

C. crangon has a wide range, extending across the northeastern Atlantic Ocean from the White Sea in the north of Russia to the coast of Morocco, including the Baltic Sea, as well as occurring throughout the Mediterranean and Black Seas.[4] Despite its wide range, however, little gene flow occurs across certain natural barriers, such as the Strait of Gibraltar or the Bosphorus.[5] The populations in the western Mediterranean Sea are thought to be the oldest, with the species' spread across the north Atlantic thought to postdate the Pleistocene.[5]

Adults live epibenthically (on or near the sea-floor) especially in the shallow waters of estuaries or near the coast.[6] It is generally highly abundant, and has a significant effect on the ecosystems where it lives.[6]


Females reach sexual maturity at a length around 22–43 mm (0.87–1.69 in), while males are mature at 30–45 mm (1.2–1.8 in).[7] The young hatch from their eggs into planktonic larvae. These pass through five moults before reaching the postlarval stage, when they settle to the sea-floor.[7]


Global capture of C. crangon in tonnes reported by the FAO, 1950–2010 [8]

Historically, the commercial fishery was accomplished on horseback on both sides of the Dover straits.[9]

Over 37,000 t of C. crangon were caught in 1999, with Germany and the Netherlands taking over 80% of this total.[1]

As food

A bowl of brown shrimp served as a snack

The brown shrimp enjoys great popularity in Belgium and its neighbouring countries. It is the basis of the dish tomate-crevette, where the shrimp are mixed with mayonnaise and served in a hollowed-out uncooked tomato. The shrimp croquette is another Belgian specialty; the shrimp are in the interior of the battered croquette along with béchamel sauce. Freshly cooked, unpeeled brown shrimp are often served as a snack accompanying beer, typically a sour ale or Flemish red such as Rodenbach.[10]

In Lancashire, England, the brown shrimp is mixed with butter to make potted shrimps, a dish traditionally eaten with bread.[11]


  1. ^ a b c "Crangon crangon (Linnaeus, 1758)". Species Fact Sheets. Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Crangon crangon". ARKive. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ Joana Campos; Cláudia Moreira; Fabiana Freitas & Henk W. van der Veer (2012). "Short review of the eco-geography of Crangon". Journal of Crustacean Biology. 32 (2): 159–169. doi:10.1163/193724011X615569. 
  4. ^ Joana Campos; Vânia Freitas; Cindy Pedros; Rita Guillot & Henk W. van der Veer (2009). "Latitudinal variation in growth of Crangon crangon (L.): does counter-gradient growth compensation occur?". Journal of Sea Research. 62 (4): 229–237. doi:10.1016/j.seares.2009.04.002. 
  5. ^ a b Pieternella C. Luttikhuizen; Joana Campos; Judith van Bleijswijk; Katja T.C.A. Peijnenburg & Henk W. van der Veer (2008). "Phylogeography of the common shrimp, Crangon crangon (L.) across its distribution range". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 46 (3): 1015–1030. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.11.011. PMID 18207428. 
  6. ^ a b Joana Campos; Cindy Pedrosa; Joana Rodrigues; Sílvia Santos; Johanses I. J. Witte; Paulo Santos & Henk W. van der Veer (2009). "Population zoogeography of brown shrimp Crangon crangon along its distributional range based on morphometric characters". Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 89 (3): 499–507. doi:10.1017/S0025315408002312. 
  7. ^ a b Joana Campos & Henk W. van der Veer (2008). R. N. Gibson; R. J. A. Atkinson & J. D. M. Gordon, eds. Autecology of Crangon crangon (L.) with an emphasis on latitudinal trends. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. 46. CRC Press. pp. 65–104. doi:10.1201/9781420065756.ch3. ISBN 978-1-4200-6575-6. 
  8. ^ Based on data sourced from the FishStat database, FAO.
  9. ^ Charlier, Roger H (2012). "Crangon crangon, endangered or merely on a via dolorosa?" (PDF). Academy of Romanian Scientists Annals Series on Biology Sciences. 1 (1): 31–58. ISSN 2285-4177. 
  10. ^ "Les crevettes grises" (in French). Eating.be. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ Paston-Williams, Sara (2005). "Morecambe Bay shrimps". Fish: Recipes from a Busy Island. London: National Trust. p. 140. ISBN 0-7078-0357-8. 

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