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Commensal Shrimp Found on Acropora

Posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 at 6:00 pm by

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.

Felicia has been keeping aquariums since the early 90s and has a keen interest in taxonomy, aquaculture, and seahorses. she is the former Liveaquaria Diver's Den photographer and now works for Philadelphia area's largest aquarium specialty store The Hidden Reef.

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One Response to “Commensal Shrimp Found on Acropora”

  1. Kyle says:

    I also found one of these in a cultured acropora this morning.
    took me a few min but I found it. Coralliocaris graminea, hope that helps. 😀

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