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The genus Periclimenes, also called anemone shrimps, includes about 175 species, many of which have obligate associations with other, often larger species, but some that are free-living.  They live in warm waters, and are especially diverse in reefs of the Indo-West Pacific.  Species that Periclimenes shrimp associate with frequently include sea anemones, but they also associate with corals, sponges, crinoids, sea stars, sea cucumbers, urchins, feather stars (crinoids) and sea slugs (nudibranchs).  The shrimp gain protection and/or transportation from their host and often keep their hosts’ surfaces clean by eating parasites and dead cells.  Some also eat small particles that get stirred up by their host, or eat tentacles or other portions of the host itself.  Some species set up “cleaning stations” and leave their host to remove parasites from fish, advertising with stereotypic movements of their long antennae to signal when fish can use their services.  These shrimp can be found in the mouths and gills of large fish such as moray eels and groupers. 

Anemone shrimps are variously colored, some with bright coloration, some clear or with camouflage coloration that match the species they live with.  Many of the hosts are noxious, poisonous, or have stinging tentacles, deterring predators for the shrimp as well as themselves.  Some Periclimenes shrimp do well in the aquarium trade, especially those that live on hosts that are easily cultured in tanks.

(Bruce 2004; De Grave and Türkay 2011; Foord 2008; Wikipedia 2013)


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