News / Species Spotlight / Sexy Shrimp (Thor amboinensis) (08/18/16)

Sexy Shrimp (Thor amboinensis)

Sexy Shrimp (Thor amboinensis)
We dont usually think of crustaceans as being particularly sexy creatures, but theres no denying the appeal of Thor amboinensis, a pint-sized polka-dotted shrimp that knows how to shake it. This species has been a perennial favorite among aquarists for its unusual dance, which involves holding its abdomen up in the air (like it just dont care) and waving it all around town. But why this curious caridean puts on such an elaborate display is unclear. Maybe its for camouflage maybe its a warning or maybe it just likes to bust a move.

There are around a dozen species of Thor, all of which are tiny creatures that barely reach half an inch in length. How it was that this genus came to be named after Thor (of comic book and Norse mythology fame) is uncertain, as the two seem to have little in common. Most species are relatively drab and clearly lead cryptic lives, blending in with the algae and sea grasses they often occur on, but Thor amboinensis is a bit more ostentatious, sporting a number of large white spots, ringed in blue, that vibrantly contrast against their orange body.

It occurs throughout the tropics, in both the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. Groups can be found perched among the tentacles of a variety of anemones, gaining protection in the same manner as a clownfish. This can be easily recreated in captivity, as Sexy Shrimp will host in a wide range of corals and anemones.

Given their small size, this is one species that is best kept in a nano-sized aquarium, as a half-inch shrimp placed into a large reef tank can quickly disappear. Though, if kept in a group (which they really always should be) and provided with a suitable host anemone, T. amboinensis can make for an fascinating addition to even the largest of reef tanks. Its really an issue of scalethe larger the tank, the more shrimp youll need. Other than that, theres no great trick to keeping this species, as theyll scavenge for whatever food they need, snagging the occasional bit of meaty food that might land on their host. Of course, as these little guys can make for a tasty snack for many of the fishes which might be kept in a larger reef tank, caution needs to be exercised when choosing tankmates, or youll find your Sexy Shrimp has danced its last dance.