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. 🙂