The Banded Coral Shrimp is a common reef creature. We have seen Banded Coral Shrimp near several Caribbean islands, including Bimini and Bonaire.
The Banded Coral Shrimp is a cleaner. That is, the Banded Coral Shrimp spends a lot of its time cleaning fish. This shrimp will find a place to sit on the coral reef and wait for a fish to swim near and stop. Then the shrimp will crawl all over the fish to remove parasites, dead skin and scales, and whatever else is on the fish that shouldn't be there. The shrimps bright colors make it easy to see. Its red and white bands serve as an advertisement of its cleaning services. Fish are attracted to the shrimp for cleaning, and fish will wait patiently while being cleaned by the shrimp.
The Banded Coral Shrimp is a crustacean (say, "crust-AY-shun"). Crustaceans are animals such as shrimps, crabs, and lobsters. Crustaceans have armored bodies. Banded Coral Shrimps have 5 pairs of legs. Their front legs have claws like tweezers that they use to clean fish and pick up food. Their long antennae help them identify food and explore the reef, and they wave their antennae to get attention and attract fish to come nearby for cleaning.
We saw this Banded Coral Shrimp at a reef called The Strip near Bimini in The Bahamas. This shrimp was an the sand at the bottom of the coral head 40 feet underwater. Also notice the green plants called Small-Leaf Hanging Vine Alga covering the coral head. The brown spotted lump on the sand next to the shrimp at the left edge of the picture is a Smooth Star Coral.
Learn more about the Coral Reefs of Bimini on the 2001 ReefNews CD-ROM
Bimini: Jewel of the Gulf Stream
Dr. Jonathan Dowell took this picture using a Nikonos V with 28mm lens and SB105 strobe. This photo was taken during the ReefNews research expedition to Bimini, June 2001.