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Phylum Arthropoda > Subphylum Crustacea > Class Malacostraca > Order Decapoda > Lobsters
Coral ghost shrimp
Glypturus sp.
Family Callianassidae
updated Nov 13
Where seen? The smooth burrow of this large, brightly coloured animal is sometimes seen among rubble near living reefs on our Southern shores. But animal itself is seldom seen out in the open. Often, all you might glimpse is just the tip of a bright orange claw in the distinctive burrow. At night, however, you may spot one near the burrow entrance as it does some housekeeping, or even wandering about outside.

Features: 4-6cm long. Long abdomen with broad tail, a pair of larger pincers, usually one much larger than the other. Pincers usually bright orange, smaller appendages and antennae banded orange. Body translucent, white or yellowish.

It can dig long, smooth sided burrows in solid coral rubble. The burrow looks like a PVC pipe! It is still not known how the little creature can achieve this feat. The burrows are said to be complex.

Coral ghost shrimp food:
Most ghost shrimps species eat detritus and bacteria or on decaying seagrass and seaweeds.

Human uses: In Australia, some species are caught by fishermen and used as bait.

Sentosa, May 04

Digging out the burrow?
Sentosa, May 04

Burrow is smooth and looks like a PVC pipe.
Pulau Hantu, Aug 03

Rarely seen out of its burrow.
Sister Island, Jul 04

Pulau Hantu, Jun 08

Coral ghost shrimps on Singapore shores

Photos of Coral ghost shrimps for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Sisters Island, Aug 08
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on his blog.

Cyrene Reef, Jul 14
Photo shared by Heng Pei Yan on facebook.

Pulau Sudong, Dec 09

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Pulau Salu, Aug 10


  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
  • Jones Diana S. and Gary J. Morgan, 2002. A Field Guide to Crustaceans of Australian Waters. Reed New Holland. 224 pp.
  • Debelius, Helmut, 2001. Crustacea Guide of the World: Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 321 pp.
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