A Program of Marion County Schools

Big Claw River Shrimp

Big Claw River Shrimp. This is the largest freshwater river shrimp species found in Florida whose body can reach 12″ – not including the claws. They are very aggressive towards one another, so much so, that local efforts at farming them failed because they kept killing each other. These now rare crustaceans used to be common in the Silver River. Although big claw shrimp live in freshwater, they migrate downriver to lay their eggs in salt or brackish water. In the 1930s, plans were made for a shipping canal across Florida from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic. The “cross Florida barge canal” would pass near Ocala and follow the path of the Ocklawaha River. The construction of the Rodman Dam and locks on the Ocklawaha in 1968 as part of the canal project effectively blocked the shrimp’s migration route and they all but disappeared from the spring-fed waters of the Silver River.

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