Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hymenocera picta! The dreaded killer of Starfish!

Greetings! We have just passed the July 4th holiday this weekend and so, I am playing catch up!

Today some videos of a cool looking gnathophyllid shrimp that does TERRIBLE things to echinoderms! It attacks and eats sea stars! It is the Hannibal Lector of the asteroid world!

And people have the temerity to call it a Harlequin Shrimp!

Apparently, these will feed on a wide variety of Indo-Pacific asteroid species. I have written a bout a curious interactive relationship with this shrimp along with a polychaete worm here.. as this species feeds on the Crown of Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci)

In addition to the species below, they also apparently feed on the sand star Archaster as well as those tiny little asterinid sea stars that frequently turn up in aquarium tanks..

Feeding behavior is apparently quite brutal..as the little buggers will start on the armtip and work their way up to the rest of the body... bit by bit. ugh..

This one looks like either Linckia or Ophidiaster..

attacking the ophidiasterid Nardoa

feeding on Linckia laevigata

feeding on a hapless ophidiasterid (Linckia or Ophidiaster?)

on Fromia (F. milleporella?)

A pair of them cutting into Protoreaster nodosus (an oreasterid)

With more stuff next week or SOON! Depending on what comes next!


Emily said...

Those are some surreal-looking crustaceans. They're even weirder than mantis shrimp!

Trang said...

But they're so pretty!

Chris Booth said...

The theme music for the vid of the harlequin shrimp eating the starfish:


Thank you for the fascinating post and videos. Beautiful and terrible.

anne said...

I found your blog pretty interesting as we recently used starfish as part of a lab at medical school. I was really releaved where they weren't harmed, such beautiful creatures


ChrisM said...

thanks for the note! Glad to have you onboard!