The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp can reach a length of 5-6 cm. The colour is light amber with one dorsal, white and two lateral, red longitudinal bands. There are two white spots on each side of the tail; the telson is white, too. The four antennae are white and as long as the body. The first pair of antenna is forked and has red bases. The ten walking legs are light amber the first two having forceps. In front of them there is one long pair of white maxillipeds hold ahead like a dog sitting up and begging. The vivid white and red colours are signals for conspecifics as well as for the fish to be cleaned.
Pacific cleaner shrimp's facts
Pacific cleaner shrimp's Behavior & Ecology
The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp is omnivorous and will generally scavenge and eat parasites and dead tissue by cleaning larger fishes and so on. It waits for its clientele at so called cleaning stations where it is often accompanied by other fish and shrimp species offering similar services. Some species will even clean the inner surface of the mouth and gill cavity without being eaten. The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp is very social, with conspecifics as well as with any other larger living being which may be a potential client.
Pacific cleaner shrimp's Reproduction
The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp will moult every 3-8 weeks, especially after spawning which may occur all 11-15 days in this tropical, non seasonal species. Individuals start as males, but with age androgene glands stop producing male inducing hormones and the specimens become females after some moults. The 200-500 greenish eggs are attached to the finlets and bred for 5-7 days. At dusk the 3-4 mm long newly hatched larvae are set out at a place of the reef which is exposed to current. The larvae are planctonic and will metamorphose after 5-6 months when they are 2 cm long.
Pacific cleaner shrimp's Relationship with Humans
The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp are commonly kept in salt water aquaria; they are safe and beneficial since they will clean both the tank and fish but not harm corals. For these reasons they are often kept in both home and public aquaria for educational purposes, sometimes in 'touch pools' which allow visitors to put their hand in the water so the shrimp will clean their hand.