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Emperor Shrimp

Zenopontonia rex


Also known as Imperial Cleaner Shrimp, Imperial Partner Shrimp, Imperator Shrimp, Imperator Commensal Shrimp, Commensal Emperor Shrimp and Emperor Partner Shrimp. Formerly classified as Periclimenes imperator. The shrimp's body is red with white lines or patches, and the appendages are purple. They feed on parasites, algae and plankton. They grow to a length of about 2cm.


Found in pairs living on sea cucumbers and Spanish Dancer Nudibranchs, at depths of 2 to 30m. Widespread in the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea.


This pair of Emperors were on an eyed sea cucumber (Bohadschia argus), in about 25m of water. The bigger one (which I presume was the female) was extremely difficult to photograph because it moved very fast. The smaller of the two (shown in the 2nd photo here) was more timid and stayed put near the sea cucumber's anus.

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Blogie 6 years ago

I've recently been informed that Periclimenes imperator is now classified as Zenopontonia rex. (Ref.:

Blogie 9 years ago

Thanks, Gerardo! What was more incredible was how fast this little bugger moved! It was very difficult to get a good shot of her.

Gerardo Aizpuru
Gerardo Aizpuru 9 years ago

Wow another fantastic series Blogie
Incredible the contrast whit the sea cucumber.

Blogie 9 years ago

Thanks Marta, you are too kind. Actually, some of my diver friends and I are thinking of doing just that! :)

The MnMs
The MnMs 9 years ago

As always, excellent shots! you should consider making a guide for marine critters from Philippines. I would be a sure customer :-)

Blogie 9 years ago

Thanks, Sam! Yeah they certainly are beautiful. I just wish I could take better pictures of them next time -- and soon! :D

SamanthaCraven 9 years ago

Congrats on your first Emperor! They are beautiful aren't they?

Blogie 9 years ago

Thanks, everyone! Muchas gracias!

iamcherreymaiya 9 years ago

Wow who would have thought that's a shrimp.. Looks like some kind of nudibrach

KarenL 9 years ago

Great capture Blogie!

harsuame 9 years ago

Bello sensacional felicidades

Spotted by

Davao City, Philippines

Spotted on Apr 9, 2012
Submitted on Apr 11, 2012

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