Saturday, November 17, 2012

Coral Reef Shrimps of Fiji

Fiji Post Limited  released a set of 4 postage stamps feature the Fiji’s Coral reef shrimps on  June 30, 2004 . The shrimp species depicted on stamps are Boxer shrimp or Stenopus tenuirostris, Bumblebee shrimp  or Gnathophyllum americanum, Mantis shrimp  or Odontodactylus scyllarus, Anemone shrimp or Peroclimenes brevicarpalls.

The 58 c stamp presents Blue Coral Shrimp, or Blue Boxing Shrimp , also known as Stenopus tenuirostris . Blue Coral Shrimp,  are also sometimes referred to as "Boxing Shrimp". Both males and females have very large front claws that can be close to their entire body length in size. They also have long, whisker-like antennae.

This tough and hardy critter is frequently seen cleaning parasites off of fish but is also capable of eating them as it grows larger. It is best known for wiping out complete populations of bristle worms. It will likely attack other shrimps and crustaceans; including snails.

The 83c stamp present Bumblebee shrimp  or Gnathophyllum americanum. The "striped bumblebee shrimp or Gnathophyllum americanum, is a species of shrimp that is common throughout tropical lagoons, bays, and reefs.  The striped bumblebee shrimp can grow up to 1 inch (25 mm) in length.

Gnathophyllum americanum is not found exclusively around anemones; sometimes we see it associated with large sea cucumbers instead. But frequently a group of the shrimp will be found under or around the anemone Stichodactyla haddoni.

Although these bumblebee shrimp usually walk around, they can also swim a bit when disturbed and their color and manner of swimming makes them look kind of like a little bumblebee. The black and white striped ones seem to be most common.

The $1.07 stamp presents  Mantis shrimp  or Odontodactylus scyllarus . The peacock mantis shrimp, also called  Odontodactylus scyllarus,  is a large mantis shrimp native to the Indo-Pacific from Guam to East Africa.

Odontodactylus scyllarus is one of the larger, more colorful mantis shrimps commonly seen, ranging in size from 3 to 18 centimetres. They are primarily green in color, with orange legs and leopard-like spots on the anterior carapace
They are burrowers, constructing U-shaped holes in the loose substrate near the bases of coral reefs in water ranging from 3 to 40 metres deep.This mantis shrimp is a smasher, with club shaped raptorial appendages.

Odontodactylus scyllarus is an active hunter, it prefers gastropods, crustaceans, and bivalves, and will repeatedly smash its prey until it can gain access to the soft tissue for consumption. It is reported to have a "punch" of over 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). This is the fastest recorded punch of any living animal.

The $3 stamp presents Glass Anemone shrimp or Peroclimenes brevicarpalls. Glass Anemone Shrimp acquires the color of its host anemone or sea cucumber to get a blended look.

Periclimenes brevicarpalis may grow up to 0.5 to 1.0 inch. Male Glass Anemone Shrimps are larger in size than their female counterparts. The body of Periclimenes brevicarpalis is transparent and has random white spots over carapace and tail that blend well with the color of the tentacles of anemones.

Male Glass Anemone Shrimps have more number of white spots on their body as compared to their female counterparts. The caudal fin of Periclimenes brevicarpalis has five orange spots outlined in black color.

Periclimenes brevicarpalis is quite hardy and lives with Anemones and Sea Cucumbers. In the absence of anemones and sea cucumbers as hosts, Glass Anemone Shrimp may live symbiotically with Mushroom Corals, Bubble Corals and Jelly Fish as well.

Glass Anemone Shrimp has a coating of stinging mucus on its body which is secreted by its host anemone itself. The mucus coating prevents Periclimenes brevicarpalis from being stung by its host anemone.

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