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These salt-water shrimp are wonderfully attractive and are difficult to make out as shrimp due to their unusual shape and markings. H. picta has a white body with large, bright-blue (or sometimes orange) irregularly-shaped spots. They are also called Painted Shrimp, and also referred to as Hymenocera elegans. They feed on starfish, including the crown-of-thorns sea star, and grow to about 5cm in length.
H. picta are found on coral reefs in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans, at depths of around 10m. They live in pairs and mate for life, hunting and defending their homes together.
These amazing critters were spotted at a depth of less than 15m, off the northern coast of Talikud Island, Samal, Davao.