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Anemone Shrimp

Periclimenes brevicarpalis

Anemone Shrimp Although it may be difficult to spot, the Anemone Shrimp is an interesting creature to observe in an aquarium. Well suited to reef tanks, these semi-transparent shrimp have interesting habits and incredible appearances.

The Anemone Shrimp is considered to be reef safe. It should be allowed plenty of hiding places, though ideally it would have a host anemone. Anemone Shrimp have even been known to share anemones with Clown Fish. However, initially, dominance struggles may result between the fish and the shrimp. It would be better to have one host for each inhabitant. If an Anemone Shrimp and a Clown Fish must share a host, large anemones make better hosts than small ones. In the absence of an anemone, most Anemone Shrimp will accept other hosts. They have been known to form symbiotic relationships with such invertebrates as Mushroom Corals, Bubble Corals, Sea Cucumbers, and certain types of Jelly Fish. In the aquarium, the Anemone Shrimp is a scavenger that may sift through sand for its food. It is non-venomous and peaceful; however, it may be preyed upon by other animals, if a host or hiding place is not provided. The Anemone Shrimp will have particular need of a hiding area directly after molting, while its new exoskeleton remains soft and sensitive to toxins in the host anemone. After the exoskeleton hardens, the Anemone Shrimp must slowly readjust itself to the toxin of its host. Anemone Shrimps are generally considered to be low maintenance, hardy captives.

When it is mature, the Anemone Shrimp is about 0.5 to 1 inch long. These shrimp are semi-transparent, save for several bright spots of color, often purple, pink, or red. The colors may be changed, depending on the species of invertebrate that hosts the shrimp. These splotches of color often highlight the tail, legs, and eyestalks of an Anemone Shrimp, and colored dots may be found on other areas of the body. The rostrum of an Anemone Shrimp is serrated on both the upper and lower surfaces.

Anemone Shrimp are endemic to the tropical Indo Pacific and the Red Sea. They are useful as tank cleaners, due to their scavenging abilities, and they are also quite fascinating to watch.

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