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177. The Banded Coral Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus)


The Banded Coral Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus) is a very common shrimp in all tropical and subtropical seas. This species has even been found in Northern Atlantic waters as far as Canada and in the Southern Pacific as far south as New Zealand. It is a frequent subject for underwater videographers and photographers. It is the largest known species of cleaner shrimp and can grow larger than 8cm/3.2 inch. The Banded Coral Shrimp is characterised by its very long antennae, which are considerably longer than its entire body. Well-developed receptors located on these long antennae provide crucial information to the shrimp.

This species is mainly found on coral reefs where it spends most of its time offering cleaning services to fish and occasionally inhabits the undercut mats of turtle grass. This monogamous species (yes, it has only one partner for life) lives in small shaded coral spaces or overhangs and is often observed on the ceiling of the caves, like in this short underwater video clip, where it can find fish and other marine animals to remove parasites, injured or dead tissue, and scraps of rejected food. However, they are also capable of feeding on dead organic matter and detritus if they need to. The Banded Coral Shrimp is a nocturnal species, resting during the day under overhangs and crevices and becoming active at dusk, where they mount on the top of their shelters waiting for potential client fish to pass by. Females are larger than males.

Each couple is territorial and occupies an area usually smaller than 1 square meter (9 square feet) or so. They defend this territory against other crustaceans and, in particular, other Banded Coral Shrimps. They occasionally change position over a matter of months or sometimes even years. Depending on the circumstances (diet and water temperature), these shrimps will moult every 3 to 8 weeks. They usually mate after the female has moulted. The male will attract his partner with a courtship dance after which he transfers a sperm sac to the female. She will inseminate the eggs, which are blue-green in colour, and stick them to her abdominal region. The young hatch after 16 days. The hatchlings will be attached to their mother’s exoskeleton for about six weeks before they detach. Now these youngsters are free-floating as plankton-sized organisms and become part of the plankton, depending on the mercy of the ocean currents. After some weeks and several moults, the young descend from the water column and settle on the bottom where they find a dark place on the fringes of the reef to hide from territorial adults.


The Banded Coral Shrimp's very long antennae, long legs (pereiopods), and claw-carrying legs (chelipeds) make this shrimp a beautiful photographic subject. To make this shrimp stand out, it is important to blur the multicoloured background. This can be achieved by filming it using a small f-stop (large aperture). Ensure that your ISO is as low as possible and your video lights are not too close to the subject to avoid overexposing your footage when using large apertures.

Filming location:

This short underwater videoclip has been filmed in Mauritius 🇲🇺

More on this topic:

For other Banded Coral Shrimp insight please go to vlog post 198 or click the following link: https://www.beyondscuba.com/post/yellowmargin-moray-and-banded-coral-shrimp

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