Host switch by the Caribbean anemone shrimp Periclimenes rathbunae in Curaçao
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KeywordsCoral Reef Blue Coloration Reef Slope Scleractinian Coral Junior Synonym
The anemone shrimp Periclimenes rathbunae Schmitt, 1924 (family Palaemonidae), is a common associate of shallow-water anthozoans in the tropical western Atlantic. It has been reported from several sea anemone species, an octocoral, a corallimorpharian, and a scleractinian coral (Brinkmann and Fransen 2016).
Elysia crispata is a polymorphic sacoglossan sea slug (infraclass Opisthobranchia) that eats algae in a wide range of habitats (Krug et al. 2016). In this case, the shrimp was positioned on top of its host between the dorsal frills, as if riding it (Fig. 1a, b).
Periclimenes rathbunae is the second shrimp species recorded as associate of an opisthobranch gastropod and the first one in the Atlantic. The other shrimp, Zenopontonia rex (Kemp, 1922), lives on Indo-Pacific reefs and is famous under its junior synonym, Periclimenes imperator Bruce, 1967. This species lives with echinoderm hosts as a juvenile but changes to nudibranch hosts as it matures (Horká et al. 2016). Periclimenes rathbunae also lives with a range of hosts, but it is not clear whether the association with E. crispata also results from an ontogenetic host switch.
The authors are grateful to CARMABI, Curaçao, for hospitality and assistance.
- Brinkmann BW, Fransen CHJM (2016) Identification of a new stony coral host for the anemone shrimp Periclimenes rathbunae Schmitt, 1924 with notes on the host-use pattern. Contrib Zool 85:437–456Google Scholar