TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Caridea
Family: Hymenoceridae

Genus/species: Hymenocera picta

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Pinkish white body color with splashes of purple-edged pink spots. Stalked eyes and antennae flattened and leaf-shaped.

Length up to 5 cm (2 inches)

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Along the shores of East Africa, the Red Sea, to Indonesia, south to northern Australia and as far east as the Galapagos. Found on hard rocky or coral substrates, with lots of hiding places.

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DIET IN THE WILD: It is a nocturnal feeder hunting in pairs for sea stars, using its claws to pry sea stars off coral reefs flipping them on their back. They then take them to their dwelling-place on the reef, where they consume their the tube feet of sea stars.

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REMARKS: H. picta is known to feed on crown-of-thorns sea stars, so perhaps it should be considered a reef preservationists.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Color on the Reef AQA15

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3270612381/in/album-72157659465376212/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1K1

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hymenocera_picta/classificat…

EOL eol.org/pages/126747/details