Numerous species of shrimp belong to the genus Periclimenes and are often also called “anemone shrimp.”
These crustaceans live in the Indo-Pacific region and form symbiotic relationships with larger animals, like sea anemones, corals, and sea cucumbers.
For shrimp that cohabit with anemones, the tentacles of their hosts provide protection from predators, and can also act as a platform for offering cleaning services to passing fish. The shrimp remove parasites for the fish, which are a good source of food for the shrimp.
Other species that do not associate with anemones also gain protection and/or a food source from their host animal, for example Coleman’s shrimp live with fire urchins, and Periclimenes imperator live on the backs of Spanish dancer nudibranchs where they camouflage themselves to match the red tissues of this noxious sea slug.
Periclimenes dardanicola lives on the anemone of an anemone hermit crab where it gains protection from the anemone and food scraps from the crab.
Matthew Oldfield is a freelance photographer based in Bali, Indonesia, specializing in editorial and documentary images from both above and below the waves. He works primarily with charities, NGO’s, and other organizations working to conserve the environment, endangered species, and disappearing cultures.
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