Pacific Cleaner Shrimp

(Lysmata amboinensis)


Pacific Cleaner Shrimp IUCN NOT EVALUATED (NE)


Facts about this animal

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.

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.

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.

Did you know?
that the character Jacques in the Pixar animated film “Finding Nemo” is a Pacific Cleaner Shrimp? that the Pacific Cleaner Shrimp is the most popular shrimp kept in the hobby?


Name (Scientific) Lysmata amboinensis
Name (English) Pacific Cleaner Shrimp
Name (French) Crevette d'amboine, Crevette barbier
Name (German) Weissband-Putzergarnele, Indopazifische Putzergarnele
Name (Spanish) Gamba de línea blanca
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Lonnie Huffman



Range Red Sea and tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean
Habitat In shallow waters of tropical reefs
Wild population Is frequently traded but not bred in captivity, however, nothing is reported on effects to populations.
Zoo population 198 are reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

Pacific Cleaner Shrimp


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Chris Moody

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp will help to clean not only other inhabitants in the same tank but also the tank itself of left food and macro-algae. Additionally, it is used in education to demonstrate ecological relationships within a tropical reef especially the two-way benefit (i.e. symbiosis) between fish and its cleaner. Fish need this service to keep well and fit. Because the Pacific Cleaner Shrimp is so social it can be used in a touch pool where it will readily clean the visitor’s hand hold into the water.