External colour differences in crustaceans were examined using a non-invasive study of morphology and colour in epidermal chromatosomes. Three different phenotypes of the shrimp, Neocaridina denticulata (< 2 cm total length), differ in the quantity and dispersal of chromatosomes in the epidermis, with resulting differences in body colour. Also, pigmentation pattern is most pronounced in the anterior body parts. The exopod of uropod was the most suitable body area to monitor colour changes in this shrimp. This non-invasive method allows for the study of external pigmentation in crustaceans at different stages and may help to understand how these animals manipulate their chromatosomes under physiological and environmental variability in order to acquire the final external colour.
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Vol. 31 • No. 4