Bigclaw snapping shrimp (sometimes referred to as pistol shrimp) reach
1.25-1.75 inches in length. Body color is typically a translucent
green, often with bright red or orange tones on the tips of the claws, and a
blue or purple margin on the uropods of the tail and along the sides. The
walking legs are pale red. First legs have unequal chelae
(claws). Larger claw is notched along both the outer and inner edges
where the fingers meet the base of the claw and generally bears whitish
blotches. The carapace is somewhat compressed, and
slightly more than 1/2 the length of the abdomen. An ocular hood
arises from the carapace to cover the eyestalks. Antennae are longer
than body length. Unlike other members
of the genus, bigclaw snapping shrimp do not have cardiac grooves on the
Bigclaw snapping shrimp are common in seagrasses, oyster reefs, and coral
reefs. In Florida, they can also be abundant in mangrove areas.
There are 11 or more members of the genus Alpheus that inhabit the
Indian River Lagoon. The bigclaw snapping shrimp is distinguished
based on its color, claw shape, and its lack of grooves on the carapace.
Bigclaw snapping shrimp range from the lower Chesapeake Bay south through North Carolina, Florida,
the Gulf of Mexico, and Cuba, to Brazil.