Harlequin Shrimp Large
The Harlequin Shrimp was officially described by scientists in 1852. This shrimp species has a white body adorned with large light blue spots, with the females being slightly larger than the males. Its appearance distinguishes it from its close relative, the Hawaiian H. picta, which has purple and red spots. The Harlequin Shrimp has large claws or chelipeds, which are solely for display purposes as it does not use them for hunting. For optimal conditions, the Harlequin Shrimp should be kept in pairs within an aquarium with moderate lighting. However, they are sensitive to copper and high nitrate levels, so iodine levels must be correctly balanced and maintained for proper molting. The Harlequin Shrimp is a discerning eater, consuming only echinoderms, primarily starfish, and a few species of urchins. When feeding on starfish (Linckia, Fromia sp.), it starts at the tip of the arm and works its way to the central disc. The starfish may drop an arm, but it is frequently fatally injured. Since starfish are the primary source of food, the Harlequin Shrimp requires a steady supply of them (Asterias rubens for adults and Linckia for juveniles). Adults may also consume sea urchins.