Friday, January 17, 2014

Pacific Cleaner Shrimp

Lysmata amboinensis
The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp is a Crustacean of many, many names. Their list of alias includes the Skunk, Scarlet, and Northern Cleaner Shrimp (because of their location and identification).

The "Cleaner" part comes from the fact that these small, 2in long Shrimp feed on dead tissue, debris, and parasites of much larger aquatic species. In fact, larger fish are known to seek out the reefs that the Pacific Cleaner Shrimp live on, just so the shrimp can help to  get rid of trobulesome parasites! They will even go inside of a fishes' mouth!

Pacific Cleaner Shrimp are found in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They live relatively close to the surface, hanging out in the coral reefs.

Amazingly, every single Pacific Cleaner Shrimp is born male. As they age they go through metamorphosis and molt, and eventually becoming hermaphrodites.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Tropical Indo-Pacific Waters
Size : Length up to 2in (6cm)
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Malacostraca -- Order : Decapoda
Family : Hippolytidae -- Genus : Lysmata -- Species : L. amboinensis
Image : Chris Moody

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