The Cryptic Sponge Shrimp or Paron Shrimp (Gelastocaris paronae) is a small crustacean that really has perfected its camouflage. It grows to about 2,5 cm in size and lives on sponges which it matches perfectly in colour, texture and shape: The Cryptic Sponge Shrimp has very small dark spots all over its body that make him actually look like a real sponge. The colour of the Paron Shrimp can be anything from white, cream, red-brown, brown, greenish to bright orange … always following the colouration of the sponge they live on. In combination with its flattened body it perfectly blends in with the surface of the sponge. So it is a good thing if you know where to look for it … Typically the Cryptic Sponge Shrimp can be found on tube like growing sponge grids that the guides here call “Churros Sponge” (as it looks a little bit like the spanish/mexican fried dessert). But you can also find it on some other sponge types.
Due to the perfect camouflage of the shrimp it is necessary to think about your way of photographing the Cryptic Sponge Shrimp. You can either work with wide open f-Stops and shallow depth of field or try very harsh lighting to make the shrimp stand out.
In Lembeh Strait you can find the Cryptic Sponge Shrimp on most rubble and Muck dive sites such as TK, Hairball, Aer Bajo, Aer Prang, Tanjung Kubur and many others.