Pistol Shrimp (Alpheus sp.)
Phylum: Arthropoda, Class: Crustacea
Range: Tropical Seas
Size: 3 in. Space:: 10+ gal. Diet: Crustaceans, copepods, debris
Reef Safe: Yes Care Level: Moderate Temperament: Caution
Natural History: Pistol Shrimp are generally symbiotic with species of small fish or echinoderms. The Watchman Gobies are one of the fish groups that pairs with this species. The shrimp builds a burrow that it shares with the goby. In return, the goby 'watches' at the burrow entrance and notifies the shrimp of danger with its tail. Both retreat into the burrow and the shrimp reemerges after the danger has passed. Pistol Shrimp claws are normally different sizes. The larger claw, possibly as big as their cephalothorax, can make a 'clicking' sound.
Husbandry: Pistol Shrimp live longer if they have another animal to associate with. Most species of Alpheus are nocturnal and will likely do best in a low light aquarium. Some species are peaceful and others are aggressive toward other small fish or invertebrates.
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