Shrimp taxonomy

Caridina nilotica shrimp

Caridina nilotica © Michaelwild, Wikimedia Creative Commons

Principal Investigator

Dr Paul Clark

Project summary

  • Focus: Amending the Caridina freshwater shrimp taxonomy.

We are revising the confused taxonomy of the Caridina freshwater shrimp group.

Species assigned to the Caridina group are highly variable, with many overlapping characteristics. This has created an unclear systematic status for the group as numerous subspecies, varieties and forms have been assigned. A number of species have also been described without the authors examining type material of closely related taxa.


The problem is particularly acute for African species, where we are focusing our clarification efforts. The aims of the study include:

  • the redescription of some valid species with discussion of morphological variations
  • the description of species new to science
  • illustrations of diagnostic characters
  • citation of geographic distribution for each species
  • provision of identification keys

This work involves classical alpha taxonomy:

  • examination of type and non-type material
  • dissection of appendages under low-power binocular microscope
  • illustration of appendages with inked figures made from pencil drawings sketched using a camera lucida attached to the microscope
  • written description of characters to include synonymy, remarks, distribution of species and etymology of species name if new to science
  • list of material examined and sometimes a key to identify species examined


External collaborators


Richard J & Clark P F (2005), Caridina nilotica (P. Roux, 1833) [Crustacea: Decapoda: Caridea: Atyidae] from East Africa with a description of four new species. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 118(4): 706-730, figs 1-12.

Richard J & Clark P F (2009), African Caridina (Crustacea: Decapoda: Caridea: Atyidae): redescriptions of C. africana Kingsley, 1882, C. togoensis Hilgendorf, 1893, C. natalensis (Bouvier, 1925) and C. roubaudi (Bouvier, 1925) with descriptions of 14 new speciesZootaxa 1995: 1-75, figs1-39.

Richard J & Clark P F (2010), Caridina H. Milne Edwards, 1837 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Caridea: Atyoidea: Atyidae) – freshwater shrimps from eastern and southern Africa.Zootaxa 2372: 305-337, figs 1-13.

Richard J & Clark P F (2010), A new species of Caridina H. Milne Edwards, 1837 (Decapoda, Caridea, Atyidae) from the Betsiboka River basin, Madagascar. Pp. 637-644, figs 1-2. In: Fransen C, de Grave S, and Ng PKL (eds) Studies on Malacostraca: Lipke Bijdeley Holthuis Memorial Volume. Crustaceana Monographs Fransen CHJM and von Vaupel Klein JC (series eds). 14: xii, 754 pp.

Richard J, de Grave S, Clark P F (2012), A new atyid genus and species from Madagascar (Crustacea: Decapoda: Caridea)Zootaxa 3162: 31–38, figs1-2.

Richard J & Clark P F In press Caridina simoni Bouvier, 1904 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Caridea: Atyoidea: Atyidae) and the synonymy by Johnson, 1963. Zootaxa 3841 (3): 301–338, figs 1-18.

Mirimin L, Kitchin N, Impson D N, Clark P F, Richard J, Roodt-Wilding R (submitted) Genetic and morphologic characterization of Caridina africana (Kingsley, 1882) reveals the presence of alien shrimps in the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa.

Invertebrate research

Our scientists are investigating the taxonomy, systematics and biodiversity of groups of invertebrates

Invertebrate research

Our scientists are investigating the taxonomy, systematics and biodiversity of groups of invertebrates

Zoology collections

Our zoology collection has 29 million animal specimens and is rich in voucher, type and historical specimens