Tail-flip escape swimming by the brown shrimp Crangon crangon has been investigated across a range of body lengths (11-69 mm) using high-speed video analysis. This has revealed several novel aspects of the tail-flip mechanism when compared with that of other decapod crustaceans that have been studied. (i) The pattern of body flexion in C. crangon produces movement of the cephalothorax as well as the abdomen about the centre of mass. (ii) Shrimps form a 'head-fan' with their antennal scales, in addition to the tail-fan formed by their uropods, apparently for generating thrust during tail-flips. (iii) Shrimps typically swim on their side rather than in an upright body position. It is suggested that these features may be interlinked and derive from habitat specialisation. The kinematic properties of tail-flips were found to vary with shrimp size. As shrimp body length increased, the rate of body flexion and re-extension decreased whilst the duration of tail-flips increased. Mean (and maximum) velocity estimates ranged between 0.4 m s-1 (0.7 m s-1) and 1.1 m s-1 (1.8 m s-1) for shrimps of different sizes. The combined effects of escape behaviour and size-dependent variability in tail-flip kinematics will have important implications with regard to predation risk.

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