Shrimp School: Why Shrimp Hearts Are in Their Heads



February 8, 2021

Here’s a fun shrimp fact: shrimp hearts are located in their heads! Looks like shrimp don’t have to choose when it comes to going with their head or their heart!

But what is the reason for this crustacean’s curious body composition?

The answer, of course, comes down to biology: which means that Shrimp School is back in session!

According to Telangana Today, shrimp have their hearts – along with other vital organs such as their stomach and ventral nerve cord – inside of their heads due to the safety this part of the body provides over the tail-end.

If you’ve ever prepared head-on shrimp, then you’ll know that the head and thorax are the thickest and hardest parts of the body. This section, known as the cephalic portion, is covered with a thick protective substance, known as an exoskeleton. This exoskeleton guards the shrimp’s internal organs against harm, as damage to any of them could be fatal. Shrimp have evolved this way over time to help guarantee their survival.

That’s not the only interesting thing about shrimp hearts. They have three pairs of heart entrances where blood comes in and out, circulating throughout the body. Compare this to the human heart, which has two pairs of chambers total: two atria up top and two ventricles down below. This is because unlike human hearts, which only have one entrance and exit from the ventricle, crustacean bodies have to coordinate the opening and closing of multiple valves to stay oxygenated underwater.

This just goes to show how a large amount of work goes into moving those little shrimp!

For more fascinating shrimp facts, visit our Shrimp Facts page!