Monday, November 9, 2015

Shrimp My Ride

Yo Dawg, it's ya boy X-to-the-Z, Xzibit!

 We heard you're an emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) out there who's lookin' for a new host organism, so we about to Shrimp Your Ride!

Since you're in the Periclimenes genus we know you've got about 175 relatives that have some sweet-ass hosts to chill out on. Most of your relatives love anemones and corals. In fact your genus is often called the anemone shrimps, so what you really needs is something to make you stand out. Let's get to know a little more about you emperor shrimp, and what it is that makes you big shrimpin'.

Emperor shrimp are found throughout the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans and into the Red Sea. With that kind of distribution you can't be havin' none of these sessile hosts all your relatives seem interested in. We need to get you mobile so you can meet up with the rest of your crew.

Now what makes your species cosmopolitan isn't just that you're found on reefs across a lot of the world, but more than any other shrimp, you got swag. Emperor shrimp come in a lot of colors, but whatever you're wearin' you wear it like a boss.

"Y'all don't know nothin' about the shrimp game." -Old Dirty Bivalve
Courtesy: Elias Levy & chickenvsdog via Flickr

Bright colors like that are almost always used to warn predators that an animal is toxic. But that isn't the case for an emperor shrimp, you just looks fly for the sake of it. If you're gonna be dressed that fine we're gonna need to get you a host to match.

Now don't forget, on Shrimp My Ride we usually pick our contestants from folks that are doing the right thing for their community. So how does an emperor shrimp represent? In her spare time she's out cleaning up after other animals on the reef. Emperor shrimp volunteer to pick up the trash that other animals leave behind. Mucous, old skin, detritus, and waste are all fair game for this reef janitor. All this clean up helps out the shrimp too, she eats everything we just listed. No need to bring coffee and donuts to her work parties.

Alright, now that we know our worthy shrimp a little better let's get to the reveal. How is the garage at Reef Coast Customs gonna trick out this ride?

Boom!, Check out that paint job.
Courtesy: Steve Childs via Flickr

This here is Kuni's nudibranch (Goniobranchus kuniei). It's got an electric leopard paint job, a custom gill-tuft spoiler, and that mantle rim bounces like a hydraulic suspension as it cruises along. Check it out.

Desperately needs "Still D.R.E" played over it.

Truth is we coulda gotten the emperor shrimp pretty much any sweet custom. She was the first in her genus to be found riding around on mobile organisms. She can also be found on around 28 different hosts from brown sea cucumbers and their relatives to flashy nudibranchs like this one. Emperor shrimp even ghost ride the whip on the swimming spanish dancer nudibranch.

Alright emperor shrimp, we got you a brand new ride. It's time for you to get out on the reef, and show the ecosystem.... that you officially been shrimped.

Courtesy Rickard Zerpe via Flickr

Editor's Note: Neither "Pimp My Ride", MTV, West Coast Customs, nor Xzibit have approved of this post in any way, shape, or form. That being said Depth and Taxa would like to say thanks to each of those entities for bringing an awesome show with so much potential for parody into the world. We heard that artists like to be thanked for their works, so we put a thank you into our thank you, so we can thank you while we're thanking you.


Fransen, Charles, & Hoeksema, Bert, "Going for the Stars: Extending the Host Record for the Reef Dwelling Emperor Shrimp, Periclimenes imperator (Pontoniinae), Marine Biodiversity (2014) 44:465-466.

Shoup, John, "Notes on the Behavior of Periclimenes imperator Bruce, An Ectocomensal on the Dorid Nudibranch Hexabranchus marginatus Quoy and Gaimard (Decapoda, Palaemonidae)", Crustaceana,  Vol. 23 No. 1 (Jul., 1972), pg. 109-111.
Accessed via:

"Chromodoris kuniei", The Sea Slug Forum.
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