Shiny Dinglehoppers: Sexy Shrimp

As promised, this is your slightly delayed Tuesday Wednesday Tank-Day Post. It’s also a shiny dinglehopper post, because I’m guessing many of you have never heard of a sexy shrimp.

Permit me to introduce Connery and his lady friend, Zeta:

And yes, the species’ common name really is “sexy shrimp.”

Thor amboinensis is native to the Indo-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean. Adults measure almost one inch in length. They acquired the slightly risque common name because they wave their abdomens around like miniature hyper-caffeinated belly dancers (or strippers, I suppose).

The best photograph I can offer for size comparison shows Connery sitting in the three-inch tall kenya tree he calls home:

The “trunk” of the coral is roughly the diameter of my index finger. As you can see, that’s one tiny shrimp. Most marine aquariums don’t have any in residence, largely because most creatures consider sexy shrimp the aquatic equivalent of a Snickers bar. (Crunchy and chewy! Mmmmmm…)

Initial (and reasonable) concern about the shrimps’ safety have proven unfounded, despite their small size and enticing dance moves. Seahorses do often snack on “bite-sized” shrimp, but Cygnus the Spoiled Seahorse eats only food deposited from a dropper (and fled in terror from a baby guppy I thought he might want as a snack). Connery and Zeta are safe and sound, and have taken up residence in the kenya trees, with occasional side trips to nearby zoanthids:

The shrimp is carnivorous by nature, and will eat corals if not given sufficient alternative food. Fortunately, that’s not a problem in my (seriously overfed) aquarium. They are active during the day as well as at night, non-aggressive (as one might expect), and mostly keep to themselves. Frankly, that’s probably a smart decision when everything else considers you a snack food.