Charles Fransen

Charles Fransen

Through phylogenetic analysis based on molecular and morphological characters of selected groups of shrimps in combination with the study of their biogeographical distribution patterns and host-relations, hypothesis on the evolutionary history of these groups are formulated. Special attention is given to marine palaemonid shrimps. These shrimps are living in association with other invertebrates. The co-evolutionary component is studied by means of comparisons between phylogenetic patterns of both shrimps and hosts.


Ecological speciation, biogeography, phylogeny, marine biodiversity, Crustacea, Decapoda, Caridea, Palaemonidae, symbiosis, taxonomy, systematics

Dr. Charles H.J.M. Fransen

Taxonomy, Systematics & Geodiversity
+31 (0)71 751 9613





A selection of the topics I am working on currently:

  • Checklist of Caribbean palaemonid shrimps
  • Evolution of symbiotic shrimps
  • Handedness in shrimps
  • Descriptions of new species of marine palaemonids
  • Ontological host shifts in symbiotic palaemonids
MAL03 032_Dasycaris zanzibarica on Stichopathes

Current Topic
Cleaning shrimps

Multiple origins and strong phenotypic convergence in fish-cleaning palaemonid shrimp lineages

Several species of palaemonid shrimps are known to act as fish-cleaning symbionts, with cleaning interactions ranging from dedicated (obligate) to facultative. We confirmed five evolutionarily independent origins of fish cleaning symbioses within the family Palaemonidae based on a phylogenetic analysis and the ancestral state reconstruction of 68 species, including 13 fish-cleaners. (Horka et al., 2018)

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Ancylomenes magnificus


  • Horká I., De Grave S., Fransen C.H.J.M., Petrusek A., Ďuriš Z. 2018. Multiple origins and strong phenotypic convergence in fish-cleaning palaemonid shrimp lineages. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 124: 71-81.
  • Horká I., Grave S. de, Fransen C.H.J.M., Petrusek A., Ďuriš Z. 2016. Multiple host switching events shape the evolution of symbiotic palaemonid shrimps (Crustacea: Decapoda). Scientific Reports 6: 26486.
  • Appeltans W., Ahyong S.T., Anderson G., Angel M.V., Artois T., Bailly N., Bamber R., Barber A., Bartsch I., Berta A., Blazewicz-Paszkowycz M., Bock P., Boxshall G., Boyko C.B., Brandao S.N., Bray R.A., Bruce N.L., Cairns S.D., Chan T.-Y., Cheng L., Collins A.G., Cribb T., Curini-Galletti M., Dahdouh-Guebas F., Davie P.J.F., Dawson M.N., De Clerck O., Decock W., De Grave Sammy, Voogd N.J. de, Domning D.P., Emig C.C., Erseus C., Eschmeyer W., Fauchald K., Fautin D.G., Feist S.W., Fransen C.H.J.M., Furuya H., Garcia-Alvarez O., Gerken S., Gibson D., Gittenberger A., Gofas S., Gomez-Daglio L., Gordon D.P., Guiry M.D., Hernandez F., Hoeksema B.W., Hopcroft R.R., Jaume D., Kirk P., Koedam N., Koenemann S., Kolb J.B., Kristensen R.M., Kroh A., Lambert G., Lazarus D.B., Lemaitre R., Longshaw M., Lowry J., Macpherson E., Madin L.P., Mah C., Mapstone G., McLaughlin P.A., Mees J., Meland K., Messing C.G., Mills C.E., Molodtsova T.N., Mooi R., Neuhaus B., Ng P.K.L., Nielsen C., Norenburg J., Opresko D.M., Osawa M., Paulay G., Perrin W., Pilger J.F., Poore G.C.B., Pugh P., Read G.B., Reimer J.D., Rius M., Rocha R.M., Saiz-Salinas J.I., Scarabino V., Schierwater B., Schmidt-Rhaesa A., Schnabel K.E., Schotte M., Schuchert P., Schwabe E., Segers H., Self-Sullivan C., Shenkar N., Siegel V., Sterrer W., Stohr S., Swalla B., Tasker M.L., Thuesen E.V., Timm T., Todaro M.A., Turon X., Tyler S., Uetz P., Land J. van der, Vanhoorne B., Ofwegen L.P. van, Soest R.W.M. van, Vanaverbeke J., Walker-Smith G., Walter T.C., Warren A., Williams G.C., Wilson S.P., Costello M.J. 2012. The Magnitude of Global Marine Species Diversity. Current Biology22: 2189-2202.
  • Fransen C.H.J.M., Grave S. de, Ng P.K.L. (eds.). 2010. Studies on Malacostraca: Lipke Bijdeley Holthuis Memorial Volume. Crustaceana Monographs 14 754 p. ISBN 9789004174290.
  • Grave S. de, Fransen C.H.J.M. 2011. Carideorum catalogus: the recent species of the dendrobranchiate, stenopodidean, procarididean and caridean shrimps (Crustacea: Decapoda). Zoologische Mededelingen 85: 195-589.

All publications on GoogleScholar


Naturalis aims to be a breeding ground for international scientific talent. Therefore, PhD's have a special position in our organisation.


  • Meij, S.E.T. van der. Evolutionary diversification of coral-dwelling gall crabs (Cryptochiridae). Leiden University, defended in 2015.
  • Gier, W. de. Ecomorphological aspects in the evolution of symbiotic marine crustaceans. Groningen University, 2019-2023.


  • Bachelor course Flora and Fauna, Leiden University
  • Bachelor course Biodiversity II, Leiden University
  • Honours course Evolution of Earth and Life, examining today's evidence for Origins questions along the coast of Brittany, Leiden University
  • Bachelor course Biodiversity and Ecology,  University of Amsterdam

Honours Class
Crises in Biology: Animal Life from the Late Precambrian to the Emergence of Land Life

Life in all its diversity evolved in the marine environment. In this course taught at Leiden University and at the Marine Center of the University Marie et Pierre Curie, France, in Roscoff, we teach aspects of the Tree of Life, we focus on the transition from mono-cellular life to animal life conquering the continents in the early Paleozoic, and we address Earth history from the time of the origin of life to the adaptations that made the emergence of land life possible.

We bring together a multi-disciplinary team of marine biologists, ecologists, physicists and geophysicists, isotope geochemists, paleontologists and geologists to teach a course in geo-biology with special interest in the Tree of Life, the origin of life, and the environments in which life evolved.

Watch trailer honours course 'Evolution of Earth and Life', Leiden University and Naturalis


In the

Artikel door Bart Braun in de rubriek 'De Verdieping' in Trouw - 8 juli 2018: De waanzinnige wasstraat van de poetsgarnaal is van levensbelang



Crassimarginatella harmeri Fransen, 1986
Cradoscrupocellaria curacaoensis (Fransen, 1986)
Aspiscellaria carmabi (Fransen, 1986)
Aspiscellaria piscaderaensis (Fransen, 1986)
Aspiscellaria hildae (Fransen, 1986)
Bugula hummelincki Fransen, 1986
Discias pascuensis Fransen, 1987
Palaemonella disalvoi Fransen, 1987
Cuapetes rapanui (Fransen, 1987)
Bitias Fransen, 1990
Bitias stocki Fransen, 1990
Lysmata olavoi Fransen, 1991
Salmoneus sketi Fransen, 1991
Bythocaris akidopleura Fransen, 1993
Conchodytes pteriae Fransen, 1994
Conchodytes pteriae
Jocaste platysoma Fransen, 1994
Chelonika Fransen, 1997
Chelonika macrochela Fransen, 1997
Lebbeus africanus Fransen, 1997
Pontonia manningi Fransen, 2000
Leontoncaris vanderlandi Fransen, 2001
Pontonia pilosa Fransen, 2002
Ascidonia Fransen, 2002
Rostronia Fransen, 2002
Dactylonia Fransen, 2002
Dactylonia holthuisi Fransen, 2002
Dactylonia holthuisi
Odontonia Fransen, 2002
Odontonia rufopunctata Fransen, 2002
Odontonia seychellensis Fransen, 2002
Bruceonia Fransen, 2002
Poripontonia dux Fransen, 2003
Periclimenes mclaughlinae Fransen, 2006
Periclimenes mclaughlinae
Odontonia maldivensis Fransen, 2006
Periclimenaeus orbitocarinatus Fransen, 2006
Vir smiti Fransen & Holthuis, 2007
Vir smiti
Neopontonides brucei Fransen & Almeida, 2009
Periclimenes vanellus Fransen, 2010
Periclimenes vanellus
Pseudopontonides plumosus Snijders & Fransen, 2010
Leontocaris smarensis Cardoso & Fransen, 2012
Nippontonia christellae Fransen, 2013
Hamodactylus macrophthalmus Fransen & Rauch, 2013
Periclimenes macrorhyncha Eilbracht & Fransen, 2015
Hamodactylus paraqabai Horká, Fransen & Ďuriš, 2016
Hamodactylus pseudaqabai Horká, Fransen & Ďuriš, 2016
Paraclimenaeus michaeli Odijk & Fransen, 2017
Pseudocoutierea acutidorsata Olthof, Becking & Fransen, 2018
Odontonia plurellicola De Gier & Fransen, 2018
Odontonia bagginsi De Gier & Fransen, 2018
Odontonia bagginsi
Halocaridinides socotraensis Fransen & Van Damme, 2018
Hippolyte cedrici Fransen & De Grave, 2019
Hippolyte karenae Fransen & De Grave, 2019