Exploring the Dazzling Diversity of Sulawesi’s Shrimp Species
Shrimp are known for their intricate patterns, vibrant colors, and unique behavior, these small but mighty creatures are a favorite of divers and underwater photographers alike. Our guide takes a closer look at the different species of Sulawesi shrimp found in the waters around Murex Resorts.
We’ll explore their habitat, behavior, and role in the marine ecosystem. Join us as we dive into the world of North Sulawesi’s unusual shrimp species and discover their beauty and importance to our oceans.
Unusual Sulawesi Shrimp Species
TIGER SHRIMP (PHYLLOGNATHIA CERATOPHTHALMUS)
The Tiger Shrimp is a very rare species of shrimp that we are very lucky to have here in North Sulawesi. It is only found in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean region and is a real treat for macro photographers.
Its body is a pale white to translucent shade and is decorated with exquisite orange and blue markings. This species of crustaceans only grows up to 2cm and we find it in shallow reef areas, often close to coral rubble and / or sponges.
Dive Sites: This is a rare shrimp so it can be difficult to guarantee a sighting. The dive sites where we have most luck finding this shrimp include Jahir 2 and the House Reef in Lembeh, Tanjung Kelapa in Manado and Tiga Batu in Bangka.
DRAGON SHRIMP (MIROPANDALUS HARDINGI)
This tiny shrimp only grows up to 2cm and it is commensal with black corals / whip corals. It has a very distinctive body shape with large tooth-like spines along the center of its back (almost like a miniature dinosaur).
It has numerous color variations which range from green, white or black depending on the color of its whip or green coral host. The trick to finding this species is to carefully study every whip coral from tip to root and from all angles!
WHIP CORAL SHRIMPS (DASYCARIS ZANZIBARICA)
Whip coral shrimps live in corals of the order Antipatharia, namely black corals and whip corals. This species of shrimp is often found in pairs with females being twice as big as the male, but still only growing to up to 1.5cm.
The whip coral shrimp has color variations from white through to red and green depending on the color of the whip coral host (to which it will match almost identically). This shrimp is a relatively common find and we see it all year round at depths from 3 – 40 meters.
Dive Sites: Whip coral shrimps can be found at all three House Reefs (Manado, Bangka and Lembeh) as well as other sites which feature whip and black corals.
BUMBLEBEE SHRIMP (GNATHOPHYLLUM AMRICANUM)
The Bumblebee shrimp is a very rare species of shrimp and one that our Dive Guides love to find. This is a solitary species of shrimp which is rarely found in pairs. We mainly find the bumblebee shrimp on echinoderms such as sea cucumbers, sea stars and sea urchins.
This species has a short rostrum and its body is banded in a series of white and black or tan lines. It has orange markings on the tail and orange markings with blue highlights on its chelipeds (the first leg / claw arm). This shrimp grows up to 2.5cm. Due to the rarity of the bumblebee shrimp it is a sought after species by underwater photographers.
SKELETON SHRIMP (CAPRELLID SP.)
Skeleton shrimp are very small crustaceans that are frequently mistaken for algae. They are often found in large numbers on gorgonian sea fans, soft corals, hydroids and algae. Skeleton shrimp can be very difficult to spot as they have such fine bodies which are mostly transparent although can be colored orange, purple or spotted.
This species of shrimp grows to 1.5cm. Female skeleton shrimp carry their young on their shoulders to protect them from male skeleton shrimp which are known to feed on juveniles! We have sightings of skeleton shrimp on a regular basis all year round, mainly at depths of up to 20 meters.
Dive With Murex
Intrigued by the unusual Sulawesi shrimp species? Prepare to be captivated by the hidden wonders beneath the waves of North Sulawesi’s waters.