Nature Today | Discover the secret life of sturgeon shrimp

Sturgeon shrimp, belonging to the family Palaemonidae, are indispensable inhabitants of tropical coastal waters and coral reefs. They are known for their relationships with various invertebrates ranging from corals to sea snails. Through these relationships, shrimp contribute to the health and diversity of coral reefs: they perform essential ecological roles. For example, cleaning, protecting or contributing to nutrient cycling. Understanding the nuances of these interactions not only deepens our appreciation for the complexity of marine life, but also highlights the importance of conserving these ecosystems. Disturbances in these relationships can have cascading effects on the overall health of coral reefs.

Despite a long history of research, recent field expeditions have revealed a wealth of new information about this species in the Dutch Caribbean. By combining data from field work, examination of specimens at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and literature, the researchers have compiled a comprehensive list of 46 species of Palaemonidae in the Dutch Caribbean.

Key findings

New types: Study reveals the discovery of one species new to science, highlighting the importance of continued research to understand the full scope of biodiversity in the Dutch Caribbean.

First notes: Of the 46 listed species, 24 were observed for the first time in the Dutch Caribbean. This highlights the need for continued research to uncover previously overlooked diversity.

Host associations: Research highlights 60 new host associations and sheds light on the complex ecological relationships between these shrimp and their invertebrate hosts. The complex network of host associations between shrimp and invertebrate reef populations plays a crucial role in the delicate balance of marine ecosystems.

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The discovery of one species of sturgeon shrimp that is new to science: Periclimenaeus cloacola

Its importance in light of environmental challenges

In the context of increasing threats to coral reefs and human pressure, documenting the diversity of sturgeon shrimp and other coral reef species is of great importance. The study results provide essential baseline data that can serve as a crucial reference for monitoring and conservation in the Dutch Caribbean.

By revealing the hidden diversity of these shrimp in the Dutch Caribbean, this study contributes significantly to our understanding of marine biodiversity in the region. The results highlight the urgent need for continued exploration, conservation and monitoring efforts to protect these unique ecosystems for future generations.


the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA)Supports (scientific) communication and awareness-raising in the Dutch Caribbean by making nature-related scientific information more widely available through, among other things, Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity DatabaseDCNA news platform Vital news And journalism. This article contains results of various (scientific) projects, but the projects themselves are not DCNA projects. No rights can be derived from the content. DCNA is not responsible for the content and indirect consequences resulting from the publication of this article.

text: DCNA
Photos: Charles Fransen (main image:Pontonia maningi Filmed in Curacao)

Megan Vasquez

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