In the creepy and ugly world of much diving and critters Coleman Shrimps (Periclimenes colemani) make a big exception. They are very attractive with nice colours, a beautiful pattern and a host that couldn’t be more colourful: The Coleman Shrimp is a commensal shrimp and lives on the Variable Fire Urchin (Asthenosoma varium). While you can also find other hitchhikers on these urchins (like Zebra Crabs, Yellow Squat Lobsters, Fire Urchin Shells, juvenile Fish and others) the Coleman Shrimp exclusively chooses the Variable Fire Urchin. The Shrimps grow to about 2cm in size and can easily by identified by their lange brown-red spot pattern on a yellow background. They mostly live in couples and cut the spines of the urchin on a small area on which they live an feed. Very often one or both shrimps have a bump on the side of their carapace – these are not eggs but Isopods … internal parasites that attach to the gills of the shrimp.
In Lembeh the urchins often stay in deeper water (20-40m) but also occasionally come as shallow as 8m and they usually always appear in groups of a few up to aggregations of 30-50. Best places to see them are divesites like Makawide (1&2), Nudi Retreat, Jojos and others. Usually they can bee seen throughout the year, but they change their location frequently.
Photo Tips: Coleman Shrimp are shot best with a Macro Lens (60mm or 100mm) and no add ons. Due to their attractive colour patterns they can also be shot from the top – but with at least a slight front perspective it usually work better. Here the photographer has to be careful to not have the tips of spines in the front of the frame (check your display after shooting!).