‘BAHAMAS SHRIMPING’: BANDED CORAL SHRIMPS
The Banded Coral Shrimp Stenopus hispidus is also known as the banded cleaner shrimp because it cleans other fish (see TAKEN TO THE CLEANERS); and ‘boxing shrimp’ because its stance and the large pincers on the third set of legs give the creature the appearance of a boxer ready to fight.
These shrimps are widely distributed in tropical and sub-tropical waters around the world where coral reefs are found. Their striking colour scheme makes them instantly recognisable.
BANDED CORAL SHRIMPS: 10 FACTS TO BANDY ABOUT
- BCSs are decapods, having 5 matching pairs of legs / claws on each side
- They can be found as deep as 200 metres in the ocean
- They are also found in aquaria, but need careful management because…
- They are generally aggressive to other BCSs & shrimps in the same tank and
- They need room for their long legs and antennae to move freely around
- However, rather sweetly, they are monogamous and do not eat their partners
- Diet-wise they are omnivore carnivore scavengers
- They are said to be amusing to watch as they rush round a tank after food
- Not a good shrimp to breed: the larvae get stuck in the filtration or get eaten
- In the sea, they act as ‘cleaner’ fish to larger fish species (see below)
In its capacity as a cleaner shrimp, the BCS solicits passing fish by slowly waving its long, white antennae. It then uses its three pairs of claws to remove parasites, fungi and damaged tissue from the fish. See the video example below.
BANDED CORAL SHRIMP CLEANING A PASSING YELLOW TANG
BANDED CORAL SHRIMPS IN A VASE SPONGE
Credits: Melinda Riger (Grand Bahama Scuba); Johan Fredriksson; Alexander Vasenin; Laszlo Ilyesr; R. Ling; LiveAquaria, Fishlore [nb not all pics are from the Bahamas, but the BCS is the same the world over…]