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.
To cite this page:
Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2014. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed at http://animaldiversity.org.
The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students. ADW doesn't cover all species in the world, nor does it include all the latest scientific information about organisms we describe. Though we edit our accounts for accuracy, we cannot guarantee all information in those accounts. While ADW staff and contributors provide references to books and websites that we believe are reputable, we cannot necessarily endorse the contents of references beyond our control.