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Cleaner shrimp

Cleaner shrimp group consists of three families : Hippolytidae, Palaemonidae and Stenopodidae. They volunteer to clean other organisms of parasites.

A cleaning shrimp lives in a cleaning symbiosis – the fish gets liberated from parasites and the shrimp gets the nutritional value of the removed parasite. In many reefs there are real “cleaning stations”, where shrimps wait simply for their “customers”. When they see a “customer” passing by, they exhibit a “rocking dance”, moving from side to side, to attract the customer. Intensity of “rocking” gets hand in hand with the state of hunger of the shrimp.

The shrimps not only clean parasites from the body of the customer, but risk their lives to clean customer mouths.

Cleaner shrimps have 2 antennas, three body parts and five pairs of legs, as well as well-placed extended eyes.