Luzon Island, Philippines
The colorful Banded Coral Shrimp is a common sight on nearly every Indo-Pacific ocean reef. Also known as a Cleaner Shrimp or Barber-Pole Shrimp, it often feeds on the parasites that cooperative fish or eels allow it to pick off their bodies. I have witnessed moray eels being cleaned by these fascinating shrimp, an amazing sight since these inch-long animals are certainly no match for the predatory jaws and big appetite of a large eel. The shrimp actually crawl all over the animals they are cleaning, using their numerous sets of claws and chelipeds to dine on a meal of parasites. To the fish or eel, the shrimp is performing the service of parasite removal, and in turn the shrimp gets a free meal. Some groups of these shrimp are known to have "cleaning stations" or designated places on the reef where several shrimp climb on a fish that actually seeks out their services.
Jeffrey N. Jeffords (photographer; copyright holder; identification)
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