Captive breeding generally tends to focus on desirable reef fish but let’s not forget that there’s some dedicated folks working to raise inverts too, not just corals. Last year we learned that the cleaner shrimp was successfully captive bred in large quantities, and now it’s the Harlequin Shrimp’s turn to reproduce in captive aquariums.
The Harlequin Shrimp, Hymenocera picta, is easily one of the most beautiful small reef invertebrates in the world. These fascinating creatures have an exquisite appearance that is enhanced by their hypnotic dancing movements. The only thing that keeps these shrimp from being a must-have addition to every mini and nano reef is their very specific, obligatory diet of sea stars.
Nevertheless, aquarists still dedicated themselves to providing their Harlequin Shrimps with a regular influx a starfish meat, and this has now resulted in their captive breeding. Aquatic Technology out of Ohio, USA has gotten more than 500 harlequin shrimp to settle out and live past 60 days!
This is a fantastic achievement for such a unique animal and the baby shrimp are oh too cute. They are currently grazing on tiny Asterina starfish so their instinctive diet remains, but captive breeding could be the pathway to weaning the awesome shrimp to a more widely available food offering.
We know how much work and dedication it takes to raise larval fish for just a month, so there’s no doubt that Aquatic Technology put in the time and effort to keep these shrimp larvae going for Two months. The captive bred shrimp are currently available through ERI and Quality Marine and hopefully they’ll enjoy wider distribution in the aquarium hobby here on out.