Commensal Shrimp Found on AcroporaPosted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 at 6:00 pm by Felicia McCaulley
I always see small commensal and symbiotic creatures like guard crabs on corals at the fish store where I work, The Hidden Reef in Levittown, PA. I always leave the guard crabs there because they are good for the corals. Last week I found something on an Acropora millepora I haven’t seen before, so I had to investigate. When I first spotted it, I expected it to be a Coralliocaris graminea because of its green coloration, but when I pried it from its host, I realized it most closely resembles a Palaemonid shrimp of the genus Cuapetes or Palaemonella. The Palaemonid family includes the more recognizable Periclimines spp. shrimps, most of which are cleaners or commensal on anemones, sea cucumbers, nudibranchs, or other hosts.
It’s a fairly large shrimp, about 1-1/2 inches long with strong, serrated claws. It’s now living in my frag tank, constantly hugging a tiny Acro frag. I 99% certain it doesn’t harm corals, as unlike most crabs, most shrimps are not destructive. If you or someone you know can ID this shrimp, please leave a comment.