Banded Coral Shrimp

(Stenopus hispidus)


Banded Coral Shrimp IUCN NOT EVALUATED (NE)


Facts about this animal

The Banded Coral Shrimp is up to 7-10 cm long, the male being smaller and more slender. The female can also be recognized by the presence of greenish ovaries visible through the transparent carapace. The body colour is pink with white and red bands across the body and first legs. At the head there are four, white antennae of which two are forked. The antennae are twice as long as the body. The body surface is covered with short spines, which are used in defence. The first three pairs of legs have forceps, the third pair being significantly larger but the others are mainly used for cleaning fishes.

The Banded Coral Shrimp is a non-obligate cleaner shrimp of larger fishes and therefore waits - upside down - for customers swimming by. To signal is willing to clean it performs a dance shaking its white antennae and banded body. It may also feed on small fishes, other crustaceans, snails and worms. Sometimes food is sheared among mated partners. It rests by day and becomes active at dusk. Strong flips of its tail will help the Banded Coral Shrimp to escape in case of danger although no natural predatory enemies are known.

The species lives in monogamy and occupies territories of 1-2 m in diameter. Other crustaceans are not accepted within the territory. During mating the male will first display a courtship dance in front of the female. The male then transfers a sperm sack to the freshly moulted female which soon will inseminate the eggs and stick them to the abdominal legs. The young hatch after 16 days. Hatchlings will be attached to their mother for about six weeks before becoming part of the plankton. After some weeks and several moults the young settle down. The Banded Coral Shrimp may live 2-3 years, sometimes longer.

Lost limbs are regenerated quite easily during the next mould.

Did you know?
that the Banded Coral Shrimp is a common aquarium pet, because of its cleaning activities? It removes dead tissue, algae and parasites from larger fish, and may even clean the fingernails of hands that are carefully reached towards it. that the female of the Banded Coral Shrimp will become infertile if parasitized by the bopyrid isopod Argeiopsis inhacae (a marine woodlouse)?


Name (Scientific) Stenopus hispidus
Name (English) Banded Coral Shrimp
Name (French) Crevette netoyeuse
Name (German) Gebänderte Scherengarnele
Name (Spanish) Camaron bandeado, Camarón elegante
Local names Alemán (add.): Rotweiss-Gebänderte Scherengarnele, Italiano: Gambero pulitore a bande, Noruego: Boksarreka, korallreka, Español(add.): Camarón payaso
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by



Range Distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region from the Red Sea and South Africa to the Hawaiian and Tuamotu Islands. Not found in the eastern Atlantic but in the tropical waters in the western Atlantic from Bermuda and off the coast of North Carolina to the gulf of Mexico and southern Florida.
Habitat In coral reefs or anchialine pools of tropical reefs in caves on rocks, sponges and shells in shallow waters down to about 30 m deep.
Wild population Of commercial importance as ornamental species, but since the Banded Coral Shrimp can successfully be bred from captured planktonic larvae the pressure on adults in the reefs has decreased.
Zoo population 105 reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

Banded Coral Shrimp


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Banded Coral Shrimp is a popular ornamental species used in education to demonstrate interspecific relationships in a tropical coral reef. It will clean larger fishes at fixed places so called cleaning stations. Its comparably long life and large size - the largest of all cleaner shrimps - will make it ideal as exhibit. It can be used in touch pools where it may clean the visitors’ hands.