Australian Mysidacea

M.N. Yerman & J.K. Lowry

Division of Invertebrate Zoology

The Australian Museum

6 College Street, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia

Phone: 612 9320 6260

Fax: 612 9320 6050



Fenton (1985) has produced the only major work on the Australian Mysidacea. In this thesis she recorded distribution records and keys for identifying the 94 species which were described at that time. Furthermore, she described 3 new genera and 12 new species of mysids from Tasmania and Bass Strait. Since then no major works on the taxonomy of Australian mysids has taken place, however, individuals have continued to describe Australian mysids bringing the number of currently described species to 146, spanning 45 genera.

Mysids have a worldwide distribution and there are currently 160 genera with over 1000 species described, thus, the number of Australian species is small in comparison. In addition, the majority of Australian species have been described by overseas biologists, therefore most of the type material is also overseas.

There is not a significant, complete national collection of Australian mysids in a museum or other institution in Australia, thus making it difficult to observe material collectively as it is scattered across the world.

Mysid taxonomy relating to Australian species is largely a paper taxonomy- usually the only visual aspect comes from the illustrations provided by the author who described the species, because the type material is overseas. Some of these species are poorly illustrated and often, important parts of the animal are not illustrated (why some taxon plates have only two or three articles illustrated). Moreover there are a number of types species which have been lost or their whereabouts “unknown”.

Mysids are able to live in purely marine waters, brackish waters and occasionally fresh water. Within this range of aquatic habitats, many species inhabit the water column just above algae, coral or sand, some rest on the substrate, and others bury into the sediment or are truly pelagic. There are a few species (particularly in the tribe Heteromysini) which are commensal with sea anemones, hermit crabs and corals. Mysids form large shoals in shallow waters, thus are an abundant food source for both adult and juvenile coastal fish.

This study is based on collections held in the Australian Museum: AM; the Natural History Museum, London: BMNH; the National Institute of Oceanography, Cochin, India: IOBC; the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Mandapam camp, India: CMFRI; the Institute of Oceanography, Academia Sinica, Qingdao, China: IOQ; the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: MCZ; the museum “Grosse Antipa”, Bucharest, Romania: MGAB; the National Museum of Victoria: NMV; the National Science Museum (Natural History), Tokyo, Japan: NSMT; the Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia: NTM; the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, TAS, Australia: TMH; the Queensland Museum, Brisbane, QLD, Australia: QM; the South Australian Museum, Adelaide, South Australia: SAMA; the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala, Trivandrum, India: UKI; the United States National Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA: USNM; the Western Australian Museum: WAM; the Zoölogisch Museum, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: ZMA; the Museum für Naturkunde an der Universität Humbolt zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany: ZMB; the Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark: ZMC; the Zoologisches Museum für Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany: ZMH; Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta: ZSI and Ii’s personal collection.

The following abbreviations are used on the plates: A1, antenna 1; A2, Antenna 2; C, carapace,; H, head; L, labrum; MX 1, maxilla 1; P3, pereopod 3; Pl 2, pleopod 2; Pl 3, pleopod 3; Pl 4, pleopod 4, T, telson, UR, uropod.


Gwen Fenton’s unpublished PhD thesis was the starting point for this database. We are indebted to Pam Beasley and ABRS who providing funding for this project. We particularly thank Kenneth Meland and Sue Talbot who provided advice on the taxonomy of mysids.

Images from papers by the following authors are credited in the taxon images and acknowledged here: M.Bacescu, G. Fenton, D. Hodge, Y. Hanamura, H.J. Hansen, N. Ii, G. Illig, S. Jo, M. Murano, K. Nakazawa, S.U. Panampunnayil, D.P. O’Brien, N.K. Pillai, G.O. Sars, S. Talbot, A. Taniguchi, W.M. Tattersall, O.S. Tattersall, A. Udrescu, S. Wang, T.H. Wooldridge and C. Zimmer.

We thank Anina Hainsworth for her efforts in locating literature. We thank Mike Dallwitz and Eric Zurcher for their Delta support and Peter Firminger, Russ Weakley and Ajay Ranipeta for web support.

Monographs Monograph and Interactive Keys Interactive Key
Interactive Key can be found here.

This publication should be cited as: Yerman, M. & J.K. Lowry, 2007. Australian Mysidacea. Version 1 March 2007.