Species encyclopedia

Harlequin Shrimp

Hymenocera picta


This shrimp has flat antennae and large, flat pincers. It is decorated with either blue or red spots, depending on the shrimp.

Some scientists claim that these are in fact two separate species (Hymenocera picta and Hymenocera elegans). However, more recent studies suggest that the Hymenocera genus has only one species but with different colourings depending on habitat.

The harlequin shrimp typically lives as a couple, with females larger than their male counterparts.


This shrimp is a formidable predator of sea stars. Using its large pincers, it flips its prey over to attack its most vulnerable parts.

It would appear that it starts with the sea star’s arms, moving gradually toward the centre, so that its prey stays alive for as long as possible.

Harlequin shrimp couples are formed thanks to the effects of the female's pheromones.

Indo-Pacific area


Species encyclopedia

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