The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) is a marine (saltwater) crustacean. It is related to crabs and lobsters. It is also known as the Skunk Cleaner Shrimp.
The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp is pale with long scarlet bands on its shell. Its shell is called a carapace. It has several white spots on its red tail. It has two pairs of long antennae (4 antennae in total). One antenna is forked into two parts, making it look as if there are three pairs of antennae. It is a decapod, with 10 legs. Two of its legs – the ones in the front, near its head, are pincers. Pincers are also called nippers or claws. Its eyes are located at the tip of each of its two short stalks on its head.
It measures about 5-6 centimetres (2-2.5 inches) in length.
The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp is native to the seas of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, from the Red Sea to southern waters. It prefers shallow tropical coral reefs.
It is omnivorous, eating parasites and dead tissue from fish. This is called a symbiotic relationship between shrimp and fish (they help each other).
The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp usually lives in pairs, not large groups.
The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp is initially male, but become a hermaphrodite with both genders when it is an adult.
The adult shrimp lays 200-500 eggs, which hatch into larvae called nauplii, which become a second larvae stage called zoeae. It also goes through a planktonic stage, moulting its shell several times. It metamorphoses into an adult shrimp after about 3-8 weeks.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM