The banded coral shrimp (Tenopus hispidus) is also known as the banded cleaner shrimp. They are shrimp-like decapod crustaceans belonging to the infraorder Stenopodidea. Their bright red and white coloration with their long antennae make an unusual and attractive sight.
Stenopus hispidus reaches a total body length of 60 millimetres and has striking red and white colouration. The base colour is transparent where as the carapace, abdomen and the large third pereiopod are all banded red and white. The very long antennae and other pereiopods are white. The abdomen, carapace and third pereiopods are covered in small spines.
IN THE WILD
Banded coral shrimp are usually found in pairs hiding in crevices and small caves on the reef. During the night they come out of their holes and await clients to clean and feed off of. In areas where there are many concentrated in small areas, territorial fights sometimes break out. These usually involve a lot of posturing and the smaller one usually backs away. Occasionally as can be seen in the image above, the males have their large claws missing. These are usually lost in territorial disputes. Banded coral shrimp are most often found in areas with lots of fish traffic, such as on prominent outcrops and large caves or overhangs.
Banded coral shrimp have a pan-tropical distribution extending into some more temperate areas. They are found up the east African coast across to Australia and New Zealand and up to Japan. In the Atlantic ocean it is found from Canada to Brazil including the gulf of Mexico. In the Atlantic Ocean from Canada to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico. They are found from depths of one meter to at least 35 meters on the Tanzanian coast and reportedly have been found as deep as 200 meters.
Banded coral shrimp are usually nocturnal feeders , emerging from their holes once it is dark. They wave their long white antennae around and exhibit a dancing swaying movement. This to attract client fish to clean. In areas where many fish congregate they may be found in the company of the standard cleaner shrimp. They will also scavenge to supplement their diet. Usually a fish approaches a banded coral shrimp and allows the shrimp to begin removing the parasites from him. It uses its large chelipeds and three sets of smaller claws called maxillipeds to scrape and pick off food and parasites from the fish hosts body, mouth and gills or wherever needed.
They have been successfully bred in laboratory conditions, but with low survival rates. Once they mate the eggs develop on the stomach of the female and when these hatch there are several larval stages that the larvae go through, free swimming for a period until the young develop into small adults. The female can only mate at a certain stage of moulting.
They are collected for Marine aquariums and in some areas this collecting has substantially reduced the population.
With their striking coloration they make an attractive addition to an aquarium. Only a mated pair may be kept in one tank and these form a monogamous relationship. If you are not certain that the pair is indeed a mated pair, it is best not to take the risk as they will fight with each other. They are easy to care for and soon take food. They make a very attractive addition to certain types of aquariums and have a lot of character with their over sized antennae.
BANDED CORAL SHRIMP CALASSIFICATION
Species: C. xanthonota
- The Reef Guide fishes, corals, nudibranchs & other invertebrates: East and South Coasts of Southern Africa by Dennis King & Valda Fraser