Posted by: Kaj Maney
Last week I wrote about a wonderful family of Harlequin Shrimp we found. They really are beautiful, so this week I thought I would write a little more about them.
I said that the female Harlequin was pregnant, but how do we know this? And how can we tell the sexes apart?
These questions are hopefully easily answered with this weeks video. The video starts off with some shots of Junior, first giving you an idea of how big the adults are compared to the juvenile and secondly, as Junior was pretty hungry, you can watch him attack the open leg of the starfish and rip a tasty bit of flesh out. He’s not taking no for an answer, as you can see from his determination to get his tucker!!
When you see the two adult Harlequins standing on the starfish arm, the one on the left is the male and the right the female. You can see the female stroke her abdomen and then fan her eggs, which she keeps under her abdomen. As the male moves in front of her you can clearly see that his tail section is empty compared to hers and doesn’t have the flared bits that come out of the side.
The female has to ‘fan’ her eggs for two reasons. She needs to make sure that freshly oxygenated water is kept moving around her eggs, and she also shuffles the eggs around so that all the eggs have time on the outside of the clutch, giving them all an access to the surrounding water.
So the fanning action was how we instantly knew she was pregnant. Generally another give away is the size, the female are usually slightly bigger and have wider abdomens to carry the eggs. So yes, it definitely shows when a Harlequin Shrimp is pregnant…
Unfortunately Barb has had a cold this week, lots of congestion and so hasn’t been able to dive and therefore no photos…. I’ve pulled a few stills of my video to give you something, hopefully, nice to look at.
And it’s been a good week. We have found plenty of Harlequin Shrimp and there have been Tiger Shrimp, Hairy Shrimp, Harlequin Crabs, Squat Shrimp, Hairy Squat Lobsters, Porcelain Crabs, Candy Crabs, Carry Crabs, Orang Utan Crabs, Donald Duck Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp (some with eggs), Skelton Shrimp, Hidden Corallimorph Shrimp, Decorator Crabs, Crinoid Shrimp, Elegant Squat Lobster, Paron Shrimp, Emperor Shrimp, Commensal Shrimp, Cleaner Shrimp, Snapping Shrimp and many more. There have been yellow and pink Bargabanti Pygmy Seahorses, along with Pontohi Pygmy Seahorses. There have also been Common, Estuary and Thorny Seahorses, Liberty’s Pipefish, Winged Pipefish, Lembeh Seadragons, Pygmy Pipehorses and Ornate and Robust Ghost Pipefish. Frogfish include Hairy, Giant, Painted, Crimson, Warty and Painted. Cephalopods include Mimics, Wonderpus, Coconut, Hairy, Long Arm and Reef (Day) Octopus, Flamboyant, Broadclub and Pygmy Cuttlefish and Pygmy and Bob Tail Squid. And there have been Stonefish, Pegasus Sea Moths, Stargazer Snake Eels, Madonna’s Bra, Long Horn Cowfish, Crocodile Flatheads, Hairy Filefish, Spiny Devilfish, Electric Clams, Banded Sea Kraits, Ambon Scorpionfish, Fingered Dragonets, Helmut Gurnards and Waspfish.
Thanks to all our lovely guests from the States, the UK and Turkey. It’s been a little rainy, but fab diving…
Date Posted: March 26, 2012 @ 8:20 pm Comments Off