Coastal Louisiana: The Marine Life

Creatures of the South Louisiana Estuary: The Shrimp
©2010 Wetland Books – may not be copied in any way without permission

Shrimp?  Who you calling shrimp?  Well, I might be little, but I’d like you to call me Shev.  I’m what they call a white shrimp, and I was born in the estuary waters of south Louisiana.  Would you like to hear about my childhood?

I’m a juvenile crustacean (crus ta shun), but it seems like it took me forever to get to this point in my life.  I started out as an egg that was released and fertilized, but because I was so tiny, I almost became supper for many other sea animals.

At first, I had no way to propel myself through the water, so I had to just go where the current took me.  Lucky for me, I ended up in the shallow estuary waters that I call home.  Everything I needed to survive was there waiting for me.  There were lots of different kinds of water plants for me to hide in.  There were also lots of tiny particles floating around for me to eat.

My swimming legs, called swimmerets, started to grow when I was about four weeks old.  Then, I could sort of float and walk along the bottom, stirring up old plants and pieces of old sea life to eat.  Honestly, you could call me the cleanup crew, because I ate just about anything I could find down there.

It’s a good thing I got my swimmers when I did.  One day, while I was hanging onto a piece of eel grass, a big bronze fish with a big black dot on her tail cruised very, very close to me.  She was sucking in water as she went by, and I had to hang on for dear life.  Once she passed me by, I dove to the bottom and swam as fast as I could into a murky cloud, shaking with fright.

Then there was the time I was sitting on bottom, minding my own business and a big net fell on top of me.  My faithful swimmerets paddled me out of there quick as they could, and once again, I was safe to tell you the story.

I’m almost one year old now, and soon I will have to catch a wave and head on out to the deep, salty water of the Gulf of Mexico.  It’s a big, cruel ocean out there, but I must go spawn so that more shrimp can be hatched, fertilized, and ride the current back into my hometown—the most excellent estuary system.

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  1. I’m picturing “Shrimpy” with horned rim glasses and wearing tiny swim fins on his swimmerets.
    Good job! When is the next installment?

  2. Hope this story is an indication you’re feelin a lil mo up. Now da news dat the oil has been plug for the time it mite make you day mo brighter. Nia maybe som of dat fig stuff can stat ta leak out dem jaws I’d be glad ta help with the clean up.

    1. I’ll be sure and give you a jar of fig preserves, Robert. If this is indeed the ole reprobait that knows neither how to speak or spell, but he sure does know how to ride a lawn mower. Right, Kim? LOL!

      1. I goin to hold you ta dat fig stuff jaw. I taut I was spel tings rite. I went ta dat school up the byu den ta dat big tiga school up da in red baton city. Nia I jus run a supermarket not far from dat verret pond..
        Have a great day Captian

        1. Okay, this is a case of mistaken identity. I apologize for calling you an old “reprobait”. That refers to another person named Robert who loves to misspell words on forums. Sorry about that. BW (PS I do know who you are, though *wink*)

  3. Swimmerets? No kidding! I’ve never heard that word in my life, but it sure does describe all those busy little feet!

    There’s something you & your readers just have to see – a shrimp on a treadmill, with all those little swimmerets just going like crazy. The site belongs to a bait shop and seafood market down the road a piece from me – a few people have laughed themselves silly at this – the little video is on the right side of the page. It should start automatically.

    Love this entry – now I’m off to oysters!