Striped Shrimpfish

Did you know?

        Striped shrimpfish are remarkable for swimming in a vertical position with the snout down!

Striped Shrimpfish

Scientific name: Aeoliscus strigatus

Range: Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific
            Ocean far as Hawaii (absent from  Atlantic.)

Habitat: Schools among the spines of sea urchins.
Status: Not threatened.

Diet in the wild: small particles of plant and
        animal matter or tiny plank tonic crustaceans.

Diet in the zoo: bait shrimp and a variety of small marine
                        live food.

Location in the zoo:  James R. Record Aquarium (exhibit closed)






Physical description:

      The striped shrimpfish is remarkable for its strange body shape and swimming habits.  It has a straight, sleek, razor-like body with one long, sharp spine and two shorter spines at the end of the body. The dorsal (back) and caudal (tail) fins are found  below these spines. The shrimpfish's elongated, slender body is encased in an armor of thin and transparent bony plates. Body length up to 17 cm. Wine red on top and dark yellow underneath, black longitudinal band and three silver spots on both sides of each bony plate.

      General information:

     Striped shrimpfish live in coastal reefs and seagrass beds, forming schools among staghorn corals or among the spines of sea urchins. They are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans and in the Red Sea. In the Indo-Pacific, they range from the western Indian Ocean to New Caledonia, north to southern Japan, south to New South Wales and from Palau to Pohnpei in Micronesia.

      Special anatomical, physiological or behavioral adaptations:

      Shrimpfish swim in synchronized groups, each fish in a vertical position with the snout pointing down. Adult striped shrimpfish are approximately 15 centimeters (about 6 inches) long. Unlike most fishes, shrimpfish and their seahorse relatives don't have scales. They have bony plates under their skin, like a suit of armor. The plates provide protection from predators, but, for some species, they make the body semirigid. Because of this, seahorses and their relatives don't move their bodies in a wavelike fashion. Instead, they glide gracefully by fanning their delicate fins faster than the eye can see
Comments about the shrimpfish of the Fort Worth Zoo.

      In the wild, these shrimpfish eat a variety of zooplankton and minute crustaceans. At the Fort Worth Aquarium, they are fed mysis shrimp and brine shrimp. The shrimpfish, like its relative the seahorse, sucks in its food and swallows it whole because it does not  have teeth.  Many larger fishes prey on young shrimpfish. Adult shrimpfish probably have few, if  any, predators. Their camouflage and "armor" of bony plates protect them from predation. The reproduction methods and  life span of shrimpfish are not known.

      Personal Observations:

      This fish is really interesting to see alive because it does not appear to be a normal fish.  One might even believe that this fish is sick or crazy.  I believe that this fish has adapted in a very remarkable way. The striped shrimpfish is not listed in the World Conservation Monitoring Centre,  IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals and is not considered to be threatened.


       Source Materials and Related Links:

Encyclopedia of Fish.  Maurice and Robert Burton.  Mandarin Publishers Inc.:
Hong Kong,China. 1975. p. 197.
Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia.  Ed. Dr. Dr. h. c. Bernard Grzimek
Van Nostrand. Reinhold Company: New York, New York. 1974. p. 33-40.
Pictures of Shrimpfish
Page author: Nichole Weeks
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 Striped shrimpfish are also known as razorfish.