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What are the Differences between Male vs Female Cherry Shrimp?


Male vs female cherry shrimp, can you identify separately?

Of Course,

most of you will have the answer no. Only a few experts in shrimp or fish keeping will answer, do not worry. This article will explain all the facts that you can use to differentiate between male and female cherry shrimp, so keep reading!

As most of you know, these cherry shrimp looks significantly smaller, and it won’t be easy to identify separately. But if you are new to shrimp keeping, you need to know it.

male vs female cherry shrimp

This may help in the breeding program when feeding; you will need this in almost all aspects.

Another reason to write this article is that most beginners wasted time in forums and other questionnaire blogs. They frequently ask questions related to this.

During my research, I found all this regard to cherry shrimp keeping, and I write this in pure mind of helping any one of you.

Once, I was a beginner also faced a lot of problems due to inadequate resources, I am sharing it with you. Keep reading.

Why it is important to know the gender of cherry shrimp?

There may be many reasons, for my self, it is the most challenging part and most valuable part in my fishkeeping life. Do you know why?

Because when I want to have the cherry shrimp next generation, I have to breed them.

So I need to know the exact number of females to get quality offsprings. And to estimate how many offspring will produce in the future to buy an additional tank even if space limited.

If I ask what is the cherry shrimp male to female ratio?

It will be 50:50 when we take ten shrimps of the group. So it is even essential to separate female shrimp before hatching to the breeding tank as a safety method for fry life.

In other hands, when there are more male cherry shrimps, they might be fighting each other and become aggressive during the mating season.

As it is a common thing for all animals, we need to separate male from each other to avoid such a collision. Now you may think whether cherry shrimp aggressive or not? No, it is not they are very peaceful organism.

The only problem arises when there are more males present under limited resources. I hope you got the point. So it is essential to have the ability to identify them separately.

How can you tell if a cherry shrimp is male or female: 8 ways to identify cherry shrimp gender

male vs female cherry shrimp

It is not quite difficult. we can identify a male from a female by their,

  1. size
  2. saddle
  3. eggs
  4. belly and back curve
  5. colour
  6. antenna
  7. behaviour
  8. Exoskeleton

1.Lets see how we could differentiate male vs female cherry shrimp from the size,

Are female shrimp bigger than male? Yes naturally in animal groups female tends to be larger than male here also same: Female shrimp larger about 2.5cm (1-1.5 inch) and male is about 3/4 of an inch in size.

Do you know why female shrimp is larger? Because they have to carry the eggs in their pleopods for breeding, therefore naturally they are adapted for that.

Also important fact all these sizes are considered on fully grown and matured shrimp because you can not compare a baby shrimp with an adult.

2.When it comes to cherry shrimp saddle

The saddle is one of the best unique features that can use to identify male and female. The saddle is a small opaque sack in the body of a female. It contains unfertilized and underdeveloped small size eggs.

It is white to yellow colour in cherry shrimp. Therefore it is different from the species for an example ghost shrimp female have a light green colour saddle.

This saddle locates beneath the body between the head and the stomach.

Suppose you are observing saddle in any of shrimp 100% sure its a female shrimp. But it is not reliable if you only focus on the saddle, as shrimp are smaller we can not be sure whether you are seeing precisely a female.

3.Their eggs

Cherry shrimp eggs get fertilize only when mating with a male shrimp. Until they kept eggs inside their egg nest as earlier mentioned.

You can identify the egg nest as a dark spot in the body when looking through the beside. However, if you are a beginner, you may not see that, breeding specialists use a light directing over the tank towards the belly area.

There you can identify the dark spot with the eggs.

Note: it is advisable not to use this technique if you are a beginner for shrimp keeping.

4.when it comes to the belly area and back curve

You can use this method as one of reliable way to identify them separately. Female shrimp has a rounded belly this because their swimmerets well developed.

And the belly area usually consists of body plates. Here females have much rounded first body plate overall it took circular this area also called as the undercarriage.

This can not seen before mature, once unfertilized eggs collected after mature and after pregnancy, this rounded extended belly area remains permanently during her entire life.

In the males, they have only straight looking body plates, or triangular. Female have this kind of adaptation as they kept eggs till hatch. It gives extra protection to eggs, having rounded belly how amazing nature adapted them.

When we consider the shrimp back curve, it related to the exoskeleton of the back of shrimp, especially you can see it in the females.

By the belly curve beneath the body, so it is said to have back curve give support to the egg nest to keep the eggs till fertilization.

This is also a natural adaptation present in the females; otherwise, it could be challenging to exert the weight of eggs.

5.Lets look at the colour of cherry shrimp and how can we differentiate by the colour

male vs female cherry shrimp

Another way to identify separately the male and female shrimp. Here you must know that females are with bright or intense red colouration while males have opaque light or pale red colouration.

There are some special occasions where this can not be applicable. First, when female shrimp get stressed, they might lose their colour to the opaque.

In this case, it is hard to identify separately.

When we consider higher classes/ grades and lower grades, higher grades also have bright, intense colouration. So being only considering colour we cannot decide whether its a male or a female.

6.When it comes to the cherry shrimp antenna

It said to be that males have longer antenna than females. Still, I recommended you not to rely only on this because the growth of antenna vary with several factors such as size, maturity etc.

So there are three types of antenna can be identified as follows.

  1. One pair of long antenna present side of the mouth, this important as a low light receptor and easily can detect the danger before it arrives( long-range detector)
  2. Another set of antenna present at the end of rostrum facing up
  3. Set of antenna facing down at the end of the rostrum

Note: Females up facing antenna pair said to be shorter than male shrimp, it use for finding food and as a danger, receptor to protect from predators.

Therefore if you are a beginner, it is advisable, and practically this may be difficult to spot the antenna sizes and compare each other because within tank shrimps belong to different ages are present.

This method will okay for experts not for beginners. When I was a beginner, I also used three or more factors to get a correct idea about gender.

7.behavior of male vs female cherry shrimp

Generally, both male and female consider as relatively peaceful shrimps.

But experts in shrimp breeding says that female and male have different behaviour.

They also tell that females are calmer, and males are agitated.

I know Now you may have a problem how we separately identify male and female? Yes we have to pay attention to their mating season, their males show restless behaviour sometimes they may get aggressive with other male shrimps as to mate with a single female.

You can see within that period male swim around the tank like crazy. And a very active behaviour also observed,

But in one hand determining gender by this way not reliable as we have to wait until the mating season to see this behaviour.

8.when it comes to exoskeleton shape: Second scale

As I mentioned earlier, females are bigger than males.

If you observe the second scale, you might see it look rounded, and males are with flat or straight second scale and also female second scale lies in the top of the first and the third scale.

But in males all three scales lie in the same line.

This is mainly due to the egg nest present in the female and males with a narrow tail compare to the female cherry shrimp.

I hope you got the point But remembered do not rely only on this because the difference between them can see only through an expert eye.

Best age to find the Male vs female cherry shrimp gender

If I ask what is the best age to determine draft shrimp gender? You can identify them from naked eyes after two months roughly it is nearly 30-40 days.

let’s see,

female reproductive organs also called as gonads which include ovary, saddle and underbelly. These organs start to develop after 30 days of hatching.

Within this time period moulting not happen in females. The there moulting process only occurs once the eggs fertilized after releasing the pheromones where male attract and mating takes place.

You can nothing was seen on males within these two months, so I hope these facts will very helpful for you!

When it comes to the pleopods

cherry shrimp

These pleopods also called swimmerets and are well developed in all shrimp species.

There are setae present in both male and female with some small variations. Spines are only present in the males while absent in females.

Female also lack modified internal appendage while it well found in the male cherry shrimp.

Do you know that?

Shrimp thoracic part divides into six segments which consist of stomach, saddle.

Out of six, only five segments has a pair of appendages on the outer surface. They are swimming legs which they used for swimming.

As you know female use swimmerets for egg carrying.

There is a unique arrangement of reproductive structure in male near first two pairs, out of that first pair called petasmas.

It looks like in the shape of baseball gloves, whereas the other pair called appendix masculine, which is a sphere in shape.

They are helpful when sperm transfer during fertilization.

Except for experienced shrimp breeders others, it is challenging to get those. Do not worry as you can use other features for gender identification.

The conclusion

So I hope this article will guide you to determine the gender of male vs female cherry shrimp. Some facts mentioned may be brutal for a beginner, but keep practising.

Soon you will get the experience and able to say the gender like a pro.

Here I also like to advise you that do not confine to a single factor,

always try to use with two or more factors combine as colour, size depends on several factors.

It is more reliable in using a saddle with eggs along with the belly and back curve.

Happy shrimp keeping!


How often do  Cherry shrimp breed?

Cherry shrimp are famous all over the aquariums as they have beautiful colouration and peaceful behaviour. When it comes to their breeding, it consists of several stages as follows,

  • Ovigerous stage – Female carry fertilized eggs, it takes around 20-35 days to hatch, within this period embryo get well developed.
  • Shrimplets stage – After hatching female will produce about 20-50 shrimplets
  • juvenile stage – shrimplets get puberty it takes around 60 days, after that they become adults
  • Adults stage – It takes 15 days to get status as fully developed adults.
  • Mating stage – These adults mate after 1-3days, after one day female will become again pregnant and carry the fertilized eggs, this goes as a cycle.












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