The Spotted Cleaner Shrimp, Shoeshiner of the Caribbean

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Common to the Caribbean Sea, this spotted cleaner shrimp (Periclimenes yucatanicus), photographed off the island of Bonaire in the Dutch Antilles, spotted cleaner shrimp live in sea anemones.

As opposed to many other “cleaning” species, these shrimp do not go in search of a meal, but remain more or less stationary when hungry. Like a Lexington Avenue shoeshiner snapping his rag to grab the attention of passers-by, the spotted cleaner shrimp sways its body and shakes its antennae to attract fish, from which it is able to collect a meal of dead tissue, algae, and parasites. In one of natures more perfect symbiotic relationships, the fish receives a cleaning, for which the shrimp earns a meal.

Source: The Scuttlefish

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