Wild pairs appear to be territorial, sometimes remaining in the area for months or years. The pairs are kept together by the females' pheromones and the shrimp's large chelipeds are used in communicative displays. Breeding pairs are known to perform a courtship dance prior to mating. Females are larger than mailes, and differ slightly in the second colour patch on the side of the abdomen.
The larger and colored female is on the right.
Harlequins eat starfish and this individual is carrying around a chunk of starfish, which is trying desparately to cling to the coral.
Male Harlequin on a bright red sponge.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
We saw two pair of Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera elegans) while in Tulamben, just off the shore of Scuba Seraya. They are remarkable unphased by the presence of divers and incredibly easy to photograph. Here's what my crustaceans book has to say about Harlequin Shrimp: