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Nature and Science

Published: 01/17/2008

Author: Fredy Brauchli


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Geographic data

Latitude: 4.0025 / N 4° 0.15'
Longitude: 72.804199 / E 72° 48.252'


Wurdemanns Garnele (engl. Peppermint Shrimp) auf einem Azur-Vasenschwamm.

Putzergarnele (Putzende Felsengarnele) auf dem Rücken einer Braunen Muräne.

Tanzgarnelen in Spalten und auf felsigem Untergrund.

Gebänderte Scherengarnele.

Hohlkreuz-Garnele: Das Aufrichten und Wippen gehört zum Kommuni-kationsverhalten (Nahaufnahme).

Hohlkreuz-Garnele: Das Aufrichten und Wippen gehört zum Kommunikationsverhalten.

Anemonen-Garnele (weibl. Exemplar) in einer Anemone.


Drahtkorallen-Garnele (nur bis 12 mm gross), in der Regel farblich der Drahtkoralle angepasst.

Tosa-Partnergarnele (Anemonengarnele).


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A rare species of cleaner shrimp

A rare species of cleaner shrimp

Shrimp and Prawn

A striking sight for divers: shrimp at cleaning stations and sometimes as symbiosis partner.

Shrimp are decapod crustaceans classified in their own subclass, which comprises 23 families. There are around 3,ooo species of shrimp and prawn worldwide. Characteristic features are the long antennae, five pairs of jointed walking legs, a flexible, horny carapace and a long, narrow body. They vary widely in color: from shimmering shades of green and brown, to yellow, pink, and red. Some species are even slightly transparent. Shrimp are found all over the world. Shrimp can be classified into warm and cold water shrimp, as well as into sea and fresh water shrimp. In this article, we are going to present some species of tropical sea shrimp, which are most commonly observed by scuba divers.

“Cleaner Shrimp” clean other organisms of parasites

Most cleaner shrimp are very beautiful and have a characteristic pattern. They inhabit crevices or live under open rocks offering their services at so-called cleaning stations, where they free the fish coming to the station of parasites by eating these. Cleaner shrimp species are, for example, the Peppermint Shrimp living in the Caribbean, the Red and White Boxer Shrimp, the Skunk Cleaner Shrimp and the Clear Cleaner Shrimp. Divers usually never tire of observing their hustle and bustle over and over again.

Symbiotic Relationships

The most common symbiosis partners are the Anemone Shrimp and the Wire Coral Shrimp. A colony of Anemone Shrimp observed on a host anemone always comprises the sexually mature female, several males and lots of youngsters. While the female pinches off the tentacle of the host, the males feed on the mucus and organic residuals of plants and animals (detritus). The Wire Coral Shrimp are exclusively found on the wire coral Cirripathes. They are only a few millimeters long and share the food of the coral.

Strange Communication Behavior

Due to their specific motion, two species are particularly interesting for divers: The High-Tailed Shrimp, also called Sexy Shrimp, and the Dancing Shrimp, also known as Hinge-Beak Shrimp or Candy Shrimp. The first species exhibits an unusual behavior: it sways its abdomen back and forth as part of its specific communication pattern. The distinctive white spots around their eyes have a signaling function. The Dancing Shrimp tends to congregate with other shrimp of its kind in rock crevices and other shadowed places. Its common name stems from the graceful movements with sudden stops, as if it were dancing.

Shrimp as Food

The large families of Prenaeidae and Palaemonidae, which live in the Pacific, the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans, but also in the estuaries at the Indo-Pacific, South-American and African coasts, have become more and more popular as seafood. Commercial farming of shrimp and prawns has grown steeply to meet the market demands, with severe ecological consequences – above all in Southeast Asia and Central America.