‘Cleaner’

‘Cleaner’
Periclimenes yucatanicus 
shrimp on Condylactis gigantea sea anemone
Music, Video, and Aquarium
2009 Morphologic Studios

Here a three centimeter Periclimenes yucatanicus (spotted cleaner shrimp) preens its exoskeleton and gills amongst the tentacles of a Condylactis gigantea sea anemone. P. yucatanicus is a relatively common species that lives in association with sea anemones and corallimorphs here in Florida and throughout the Caribbean. The stinging tentacles of their hosts provide them with protection from would-be predators. However, despite its vulnerable size, these shrimp act as ‘cleaners’ of larger fish.  They remove and consume any  parasites and dead tissue they find, often from the fish’s teeth.  These fish clearly perceive the benefits of the shrimp’s cleaning abilities over its value as a tiny morsel.  This particular Condylactis gigantea has a fluorescent green oral disc which is unusual for the species.

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