Stenopus hispidus (Olivier, 1811) (size not recorded)

Featured Invertebrate Data


Frequency on Okinawa: Collection Data:
[brackets indicate range for all Okinawa-collected specimens of the species]

Species Account:

        Stenopus hispidus, frequently referred to as the Red & White Banded Coral Shrimp, is considered to be quite common here in Okinawan waters. I've only collected a single animal, although I've photographed several other individuals over a period of many years of Okinawa diving.

        I don't have access to Oliver's original 1811 description (as Palaemon hispidus) but have added the following information from EOL:

Stenopus hispidus is cosmopolitan. It can be found in tropic waters throughout the Indo-Pacific Region from the Red Sea and southern Africa to the Hawaiian Tuamotu. It is also found in the western Atlantic, from Bermuda and off the coast of North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico and southern Florida to the northern coast of South America.
Animals in the family Stenopodidae have spines on their body and on the larger chelipeds. The antennae are larger than their body. Stenopus hispidus grows up to 6.2 cm).

Stenopus hispidus has a red and white-banded body and claws, with the bands sometimes bordered in purple. Banded coral shrimp have two pairs of long, white, hair-like antennae, the first of the antennae being uniramous. The walking legs and some parts of the body appear translucent while the third, or middle, pair of legs is enlarged and supports large claws. The claws have the ability to automize, or break off by natural means, when the individual feels threatened. The claw can regenerate and often results in unequal claw size.

Stenopus hispidus is a "cleaning shrimp". Individuals remove and consume parasites, injured tissue and rejected food particles from some coral reef organisms. S. hispidus perches near the opening of the cave or ledge in which they are living and wave their antennae to attract fish. These locations sometimes become known as cleaning stations. Individuals have the freedom to enter the mouth and gill cavities of host organisms, without being eaten, but usually remain in contact with the substrate when cleaning. Species that S. hispidus has been known to clean include morays, tangs, grunts and groupers.

I've also added the following information from Wikipedia:

Distribution: Stenopus hispidus has a pan-tropical distribution, extending into some temperate areas. It is found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Canada to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico. In Australia, it is found as far south as Sydney and it also occurs around New Zealand.

Description: Stenopus hispidus reaches a total length of 60 millimetres (2.4 in), and has striking colouration. The ground colour is transparent, but the carapace, abdomen and the large third pereiopod are all banded red and white. The antennae and other pereiopods are white. The abdomen, carapace and third pereiopods are covered in spines.

Ecology: Stenopus hispidus lives below the intertidal zone, at depth of up to 210 metres (690 ft), on coral reefs. It is a cleaner shrimp, and advertises to passing fish by slowly waving its long, white antennae. S. hispidus uses its three pairs of claws to remove parasites, fungi and damaged tissue from the fish. S. hispidus is monogamous.

        I've added a second page w/ several images of the species.

        In addition, there's a page w/ links to misc. phyla including this species phylum, as well as additional resources.


Literature Cited:

Page Date: 15 Jun '17
Page Modification Date: 15 Jun '17
Digitally manipulated photo
Copyright © 2017 Robert F. Bolland