Rostrum upcurved, as long as or slightly longer than the carapace; twelve to sixteen dorsal teeth, normally four of these behind posterior edge of orbit; six to eight ventral teeth. Dorsal teeth extend into anterior third of rostrum.
Carapace with strong antennal spine, and small pterygostomian spine.
Stylocerite broadly rounded, shorter than eye. Outer border of scaphocerite very slightly convex, apical spine not exceeding lamellar portion. Third maxilliped approximately equal in length to scaphocerite; epipod present.
Mandible with molar and incisor processes, and three-segmented palp with lateral lobe on proximal segment.
Pereiopods 1-4 with arthrobranchs and epipods, pereiopod 5 with setobranch. Pereiopod 1 minutely chelate. Second pereiopods asymmetrical: pereiopod 2 right: carpus of 23-26 segments (rarely up to 30); pereiopod 2 left: carpus of 50-60 segments.
Telson with eight to eleven pairs of lateral spines, occasionally odd numbers.
Length up to 160 mm, usually nearer 100 mm.
Pale red, with pleon normally deeper red.
Depth range, down to about 20-900 metres, frequently from 80-500 metres. Usually found on muddy substrates. Hyperbenthic species, mostly confined to the nepheloid layer; swims up at night.
Ovigerous females occur from October to April-May in British waters, but the breeding period is extended at higher latitudes.
Distribution in the North Sea:
Northern North Sea, but also reported in the SW North Sea off the English east coast.
In the Atlantic Ocean, ranges from Spitzbergen, Franz Josef Land and Jan Mayen southwards to Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Britain. It occurs as far south as 41°N in the W Atlantic. The closely related species Pandalus eous Makarov, 1935 (formerly confused with P. borealis ) is known in the Pacific from the Columbia River to Alaska, north of the Bering Straits to 73°N, and from Japanese waters as far south as 45°N.