Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there.

Living Gems #1 – Candy-Stripe Shimp

I went diving yesterday in an area where I knew there were Crimson Anemones. My hope was that if I took my magnifying glass and my macro lens MAYBE I would find a few Candy-Stripe Shrimp.


LOOK! One little Crimson Anemone had ~40 Candy-Stripe Shrimp!

This species of shrimp is almost always found in association with this species of anemone and must be immune to its stinging cells (nematocysts). The shrimp get the benefit of snacks and the anemone MAY get protection. From Greg Jensen’s Crabs and Shrimps of the Pacific Coast”: “The shrimp are believed to feed primarily on egested material [think poop] and the sloughing tissues of their host anemone”.

Greg observed in his aquarium (anecdotally) that Candy-Stripe Shrimp would share space on an anemone with other shrimp species (Kincaid’s Shrimp) but immediately attacked another shrimp species believed to harm the anemone – Snyder’s Blade Shrimp. Maybe this is what the anemones get out of the deal. 

Candy-Stripe Shrimp can be up to 4.5 cm but these were all around 1 cm or less. What else was extraordinary in this “encounter” is that these shrimp usually dart away as soon as an annoying photographer shows up. That did not happen. So for you, LOTS of photos of these colourful marvels and their possible symbiosis / coevolution.

Shrimp = Lebbeus grandimanus
Crimson Anemone = Cribrinopsis fernaldi to 30 cm tall. Candy-Stripe Shrimp have also found in association with a few other anemone species but most often with Crimson Anemones.

Tomorrow I will post about another “living gem” I documented on this dive. That is, another species that shatters the notion that these cold, dark waters do not explode with colour and biodiversity. 🙂



The photos below were added to the original post above on April 2, 2023.
The text that accompanied the photos on social media was:

“Huge Sand-rose Anemone with a Candy-stripe Shrimp!

This anemone species is often buried as the name suggests. But, not only was this one not buried, but its tentacles were retracted whereby you can see its red column with the characteristic white bumps (tubercles) AND the Candy-stripe Shrimp. If the tentacles were not retracted, the shrimp would likely be hidden under the protection of the tentacles.

Photos: April 1, 2023 near Port Hardy and Kwakiutl Territory ©Jackie Hildering with dive buddy @Jacqui Engel.

I took the final photo (below) when I came back after 30 minutes. I hoped the anemone would have its tentacles back out so you could see the before and after. Success!

Sand-rose Anemones are one of the world’s largest anemones at up to 1 metre across and 25 cm high. Feeds on plankton and detritus suspended in the water.

They are host to several species of symbiotic shrimp. The shrimp get protection under the long tentacles with stinging cells and the anemone potentially benefits from the shrimp eating other animals and organic bits near the anemone, and from possibly getting bits of food.”

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