RSS A Photographic Identification Guide to Stenopus Shrimp

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  1. MASA Admin

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    The Coral Banded Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus) is a staple of the aquarium hobby, but there are many more species in its genus that are less familiar to aquarists. Nearly all of the dozen or so species appear in exports from time to time. Some are regularly encountered, and some are rare enough to be the crustacean equivalent of a Peppermint Angelfish. Part of the difficulty in identifying these shrimp is the lack of a single resource that covers the group in its entirety. So let’s remedy that, with a quick and painless guide to the identification of the Boxing Shrimp of the genus Stenopus. (image above: S. tenuirostris Credit: etepon)

    [​IMG]Stenopus chrysexanthus – Modified from an image of S. scutellaris to resemble chrysexanthus. Credit: Arthur Anker


    Stenopus chrysexanthus

    Range: Indo-West Pacific

    Etymology: Greek, “golden-yellow”

    Aquarium Rarity: Absent

    Size: Small

    ID: Rostrum red & abdomen yellow; three pairs of spots on the abdomen and a broad red band just before tail; tail yellow, with middle red and red stripes along the uropods, the posterior margin white; banding pattern on arms distinctive and as depicted in photo

    Note: There are apparently no existing photographs of this species. The image included here is of scutellaris with the colors of chrysexanthus overlaid onto it as described in its original description—it will likely vary in minor details from the true form, but the general impression should be the same. Why this species is so poorly documented is unknown, as it has a wide range and occurs in relatively shallow waters. It may be particularly reclusive.

    [​IMG]Stenopus cyanoscelis – Credit: Sabine Penisson


    Stenopus cyanoscelis

    Range: Indo-West Pacific

    Etymology: Greek, “blue legs”

    Aquarium Rarity: Uncommon

    Size: Small

    ID: Legs violet & carapace yellow; dark parallel stripes on 2nd+3rd abdominal segments, followed by red and white bands; antennae white

    [​IMG]Stenopus devaneyi – Credit: makeit


    [​IMG]Stenopus devaneyi – Credit: B-box Aquarium


    Stenopus devaneyi

    Range: Indo-West Pacific

    Etmology: after crustacean researcher Dr. D. M. Devaney

    Aquarium Rarity: Rare

    Size: Small

    ID: Two large red spots near base of abdomen; carapace+abdomen varies from yellow to white; red bands variably present on arms and abdomen; legs+antennae white

    [​IMG]Stenopus earlei – Credit: gobyman


    [​IMG]Stenopus earlei – A paler specimen, possibly still juvenile. Credit: ichy-gooo


    Stenopus earlei

    Range: Indo-West Pacific

    Etymology: after famed marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle

    Aquarium Rarity: Rare

    Size: Small

    ID: Paired red lines running along abdomen; carapace dotted with red; arms red; legs red in first segment, white beyond the “knee”

    [​IMG]Stenopus goyi – Credit: Blue Zoo Aquatics & DeJong Marinelife


    [​IMG]Stenopus goyi – Credit: Saito et al 2009


    Stenopus goyi

    Range: Indo-West Pacific

    Etymology: after Dr. Joseph W. Goy, noted authority on Stenopus

    Aquarium Rarity: Rare

    Size: Small

    ID: Rostrum red & abdomen white; last two pairs of legs with thin red band near “knee”; tail with medial red band; a pair of red lines on carapace

    [​IMG]Stenopus hispidus – Credit: Arthur Anker


    [​IMG]Stenopus hispidus – An unusually violet specimen. Credit: Karen Honeycutt


    Stenopus hispidus

    Range: Circumtropical

    Etymology: Latin, “bearing coarse stiff hairs”

    Aquarium Rarity: Common

    Size: Medium

    ID: Bases of legs violet; carapace+abdomen+tail and arms white, with red bands

    [​IMG]Stenopus pyronotus – The largest species of Boxing Shrimp. Credit: unknown


    [​IMG]Stenopus pyronotus – The arms on this one are unusually colorful. Credit: manboon


    Stenopus pyronotus

    Range: Indo-West Pacific

    Etymology: Greek, “fire-backed”

    Aquarium Rarity: Uncommon

    Size: Large

    ID: A single red stripe running along top of abdomen; body otherwise white

    [​IMG]Stenopus scutellatus – Credit: Kevin Bryant


    Stenopus scutellatus

    Range: Western Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico

    Etymology: Latin, “little shield”

    Aquarium Rarity: Uncommon

    Size: Small

    ID: Rostrum+carapace+abdomen yellow; legs yellow; antennae white; arms red & white; abdomen with two pairs of red spots in rear half, small unpaired white spots between these; tail with red medial band

    [​IMG]Stenopus spinosus – Credit:Carlos Marques


    [​IMG]Stenopus spinosus – Credit: Stefano Guerrieri


    Stenopus spinosus

    Range: Mediterranean & Gulf of Mexico

    Etymology: Latin, “spiny”

    Aquarium Rarity: Absent

    Size: Large

    ID: Solid orange carapace+abdomen+legs; antennae white; tail with red spots on each side of a faint central white spot

    [​IMG]Stenopus tenuirostris – Hanging out with a mantis shrimp. Credit: Gianni Cicalese


    [​IMG]Stenopus tenuirostris – Hanging out with a moray. Credit: Hiroshi Ornata


    Stenopus tenuirostris

    Range: Indo-West Pacific

    Etymology: Latin, “thin beak”

    Aquarium Rarity: Uncommon

    Size: Small

    ID: Purple carapace and legs; arms and abdomen banded in white red and yellow; antennae a clear red

    Note: This species shows an unusual prevalence for residing near mantis shrimp, moray eels, and tube anemones.

    [​IMG]The true Stenopus zanzibaricus. Note the white tail and abdomen. Credit: unknown


    [​IMG]Stenopus zanzibaricus – Credits: unknown


    Stenopus zanzibaricus

    Range: Indo-West Pacific

    Etymology: Latin, “from Zanzibar(Kenya)”

    Aquarium Rarity: Rare

    Size: Small

    ID: Antennae red & tail white; abdomen white, with two red bands; arms with a single prominent red band on first segment, and a faint orange band on each of the last two segments; legs white on first segment, red beyond the “knees”

    [​IMG]Stenopus cf zanzibaricus – Credit: unknown


    [​IMG]Stenopus cf zanzibaricus – The imposter zanzibaricus. Note the red tail and yellow abdomen. Credit: Aquaportal


    Stenopus cf zanzibaricus

    Range: unknown

    Aquarium Rarity: Rare

    Size: Small

    ID: Antennae red & tail with red band; abdomen yellow; abdomen near bae with small paired dark-red spots, followed by a white spot and a red band; arms with a strong red band in each segment; legs white on first segment, red beyond the “knees”

    Note: It is uncertain if this is a variant of the true zanzibaricus, but the many differences in coloration suggest it deserves species status. The true zanzibaricus is described from the Indian Ocean, and it may well be shown that this form originates in the Pacific as its allopatric sister.

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