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Decapod Drop-Ins

With oversized claws and armor plating, colorful Stenopus shrimp bedazzle even the most ho-hum of setups.

By Steven Bitter

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It has 10 legs, huge claws, plate armor and antennae as long as its body. If it were enlarged to the appropriate size, it would look like something that might ravage downtown Tokyo in an epic battle with Godzilla. If the producers of those films in the 1950s had been saltwater aquarists, viewers may have been treated to grainy reruns on Saturday afternoons of “Godzilla versus Stenopus,” complete with special effects and English-language dubbing. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), movie fans never got to see such a film. Instead, coral shrimp of the genus Stenopus remain one of the most reclusive animals on the reef, and one of the most colorful and distinctive animals available in the aquarium hobby. In FAMA’s invertebrate issue, we can’t leave out these terrific shrimp!

The banded coral shrimp (S. hispidus) is one of the most recognizable invertebrates in the marine aquarium hobby. Most hobbyists even at the beginner level are able to recognize this colorful shrimp by its red bands, long antennae and massive clawlike pincers. However, this species is just one member of a genus that includes many exciting species, several of which are quite different in size and color from S. hispidus. And even if the banded coral shrimp is not right for every captive-care situation, you may be surprised at how many of its cousins would be well suited for your tank.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the May 2009 issue of Freshwater And Marine Aquarium, or subscribe to get 12 months of articles just like this.

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