Explore the Richness of Shrimps in Mauritius: A Delightful Underwater Surprise
by Cindy
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Explore the Richness of Shrimps in Mauritius: A Delightful Underwater Surprise

The tropical island of Mauritius, nestled in the Indian Ocean, is renowned for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and exceptional marine biodiversity. Among the treasures within this underwater ecosystem, shrimps hold a special place. These colorful little wonders hide among the coral reefs and mangroves, adding vibrancy to Mauritius' marine life. In this article, we will explore the different shrimp species found in Mauritius and their importance to the local ecosystem.

 

  1. Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis):
    Cleaner shrimp are iconic species in the Indian Ocean, known for their crucial role in fish cleaning. These small shrimps display vibrant colors ranging from red to white and blue, making them easily noticeable in coral reefs. They feed on parasites and dead tissues found on fish, helping them stay healthy. Observing these little creatures in action is a fascinating sight for divers and snorkelers.
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  2. Large Cleaner Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus):
    The large cleaner shrimp also known as the Banded Coral Shrimp, is a fascinating species found in Mauritian waters. Recognizable by its elongated body and vibrant coloration, this shrimp stands out with its long legs adorned with spines. It primarily resides in coral and rocky areas, where it plays an important role by cleaning the skin of fish and other marine creatures. Cleaner shrimps feed on parasites and dead tissues present on the fish's skin, helping them maintain good health. They establish cleaning stations where fish come to have their parasites removed. Observing these shrimps actively cleaning is a fascinating sight and demonstrates the significance of their role in Mauritius' marine ecosystem.
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  3. Emperor Shrimp (Gnathophyllum americanum):
    The emperor shrimp is a native species in Mauritian waters, primarily found in mangrove areas. These shrimps feature a bright red color and stand out with their large claws. They play a crucial role in the ecosystem by feeding on organic debris and contributing to water filtration. Underwater photography enthusiasts will be delighted to capture the beauty of these shrimps in their natural habitat.

  4. Clown Anemone Shrimp (Ancylocaris brevicarpalis):
    The clown anemone shrimp, also known as the "clown shrimp", is recognizable by its magnificent enlarged tail and bright colors. This shrimp adds an exotic touch to the marine ecosystem. It hides mainly in coral reefs, where it feeds on small organisms and debris in the surrounding area. This shrimp is a true underwater jewel, with its colorful patterns and unique morphology. Observing this shrimp in its natural habitat is a visual delight, and its presence adds an extra visual richness to the underwater wonders of Mauritius.
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  5. Saron Shrimp (Saron marmoratus):
    The Saron shrimp, also known as the marbled shrimp, is a commonly observed species in Mauritian waters. These shrimps feature colorful patterns, combining shades of red, white, and black. They are often found in coral and sandy areas. The Saron shrimp plays an important ecological role by feeding on dead organisms and plant debris, helping to maintain water quality in its habitat.
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  6. Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera picta):
    The harlequin shrimp is an incredibly attractive species found in Mauritius. Recognizable by its colorful patterns and translucent body, this shrimp is an impressive visual spectacle. It primarily resides in coral reefs, where it feeds on small invertebrates. The harlequin shrimp is also known for its symbiotic relationship with the coral, protecting it by feeding on starfish, which attack the coral.

  7. Imperial Shrimp (Periclimenes imperator):
    The imperial shrimp is a magnificent species that can be observed in Mauritian waters. Recognizable by its vibrant red color and white stripes, this shrimp is often found on sponges or corals. It establishes a symbiotic relationship with its host, feeding on harmful parasites and providing protection in return. The imperial shrimp is a true underwater marvel that adds a touch of brilliance to the reefs of Mauritius.

  8. Bruun Cleaner Shrimp (Urocaridella antonbruunii):
    The Bruun cleaner shrimp, also known as the commensal shrimp, is a small shrimp species found in Mauritian coral reefs. It displays vibrant colors like red and white and stands out with its long antennae. These shrimps establish symbiotic relationships with animals such as starfish and sea urchins, feeding on debris and parasites on their bodies. They play an essential role in maintaining the health of their hosts.

  9. Peacock Mantis Shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus):
    The peacock mantis shrimp is a fascinating species encountered in Mauritius. Recognizable by its bulging eyes and bright colors, this shrimp is a formidable hunter. Its powerful claws enable it to capture its prey with remarkable precision. The mantis shrimp is often considered one of the most spectacular marine jewels, and watching its graceful movements is a real delight.
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  10. White Line Shrimp (Periclimenes albolineatus):
    The white line shrimp is a delicate and graceful species found in Mauritius. Recognizable by its distinctive white lines on a translucent body, it is often found near corals and sponges. These shrimps establish symbiotic relationships with sea anemones and feed on leftover food from their hosts. Their presence adds a touch of beauty and diversity to Mauritius' reefs.

  11. Thor Shrimp (Thor amboinensis):
    The Thor shrimp, also known as the striped cleaner shrimp, is a popular species in aquariums, but it is also present in Mauritian waters. It stands out with its white and red stripes and delicate claws. The Thor shrimp is often observed in coral areas and rocky crevices, where it plays an important role in the ecosystem by feeding on algae and organic debris.
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  12. Whip Coral Shrimp (Pontonides ankeri):
    The whip coral shrimp is a small shrimp that inhabits Mauritian waters. Recognizable by its transparent body and long antennae, it is often found in coral colonies. Whip coral shrimps establish a symbiotic relationship with the coral, feeding on parasites and debris that may harm its health. Their presence indicates the good health of Mauritius' coral reefs.

  13. Orange Mantis Shrimp (Cinetorhynchus concolor):
    The orange mantis shrimp is a unique shrimp species found in Mauritian waters. It is characterized by its translucent body and elongated, mobile rostrum. These shrimps are often found in coral areas and feed on small invertebrates. Their mobile rostrum allows them to catch their prey with great precision. Observing these shrimps in their natural habitat is a fascinating experience.

  14. Durban Dancing Shrimp (Rynchocinetes durbanesis):
    The Durban dancing shrimp is a remarkable species encountered in Mauritius. Recognizable by its vibrant orange color and long graceful legs, it is often found in coral reefs and rocky zones. These shrimps are known for their complex dancing behavior, where they rhythmically wave their legs to communicate with each other. The Durban dancing shrimp is a true underwater spectacle that enchants divers and nature enthusiasts.

Conclusion:
The shrimp in Mauritius offer a unique underwater experience for visitors to the island. Their diversity of colors, shapes, and behaviors makes them fascinating creatures to observe during dives or snorkeling sessions. In addition to adding beauty to Mauritius' marine ecosystem, shrimps play a vital role in preserving the local ecological balance. By protecting and preserving their habitats, we contribute to maintaining the exceptional biodiversity of this paradise island for future generations. So, the next time you dive into the Mauritian waters, keep a keen eye on these amazing creatures that animate the island's coral reefs.

I hope this article will help you discover the diversity of shrimp in Mauritius. Take advantage of your underwater exploration in Mauritian waters to admire these magnificent creatures and preserve their natural environment.

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