University of Tasmania, Australia

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UTAS Home > IMAS Home > Image Key > Malacostraca > Decapoda >  Lucifer hanseni

Lucifer hanseni

Nobili 1905


Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Malacostraca
Superorder Eucarida
Order Decapoda
Suborder Dendrobranchiata
Superfamily Sergestoidea
Family Luciferidae
Genus Lucifer


  • Ranges in length from about 9 to 12 mm when adult.

Distinguishing characteristics

  • Sometimes called the ghost shrimp.
  • Appearance of an elongated shrimp; it almost seems to have been stretched.
  • Carapace is extremely laterally compressed.
  • Head section is longer and narrower than the thorax, resulting in the eyes and antennae being widely distant from the mouthparts.
  • Rostrum is short and pointed.
  • 3 pairs of pereiopods instead of the usual 5; the 3rd pair is partially chelate .
  • Telson in males has 2 distinct projections on the ventral surface.
  • Almost transparent.


  • South-eastern Australian waters (Dakin and Colefax 1940). Melbourne Harbour (Borradaille 1916). South-eastern Tasmanian waters and Derwent Estuary (Ong 1967, Nyan Taw 1978). Indian Ocean and South China Sea (Hansen 1919).
  • Particularly abundant in the coastal waters of south-eastern Australia where it can often make sorting of other plankton difficult because of the large numbers.
  • Nyan Taw (1978) reported that it is a dominant species in the inshore coastal waters of south-eastern Tasmania during winter months.