The Harlequin Shrimp was first scientifically described in 1852. The Harlequin Shrimp have a white body with large light blue spots, and the males are slightly smaller than the female. It differs from its close cousin, the HawaiianH. picta
which has purple and red spots. It has large claws (chelipeds) which are for show only; it does not use them for hunting.
The Harlequin Shrimp is best kept as mated pairs in an aquarium with moderate light. The Harlequin Shrimp can not tolerate copper or high nitrates, and iodine levels must be correct and maintained to ensure proper molting.
It is very particular about what it will eat, dining only on echinoderms, primarily starfish, and a few urchin species. It will eat starfish (Linckia, Fromia sp.) by starting at the tip of the arm and working its way to the central disc. The starfish may shed the arm, but is often mortally wounded.
As its primary source of food, you will need to supply the Harlequin Shrimp with starfish (Asterias rubens for adults, and Linckia for juveniles). The adults may also eat sea urchins.
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1/2" to 3/4"; Medium: 3/4" to 1"; Large: 1' to 1-1/2"