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Phylum Arthropoda > Subphylum Crustacea > Class Malacostraca > Order Decapoda > prawns and shrimps >
Family Palaemonidae
Peacock-tail anemone shrimp
Ancylocaris brevicarpalis
Family Palaemonidae
updated Jan 2020
Where seen? This chubby shrimp with black-ringed orange spots on its tail is often seen in large sea anemones on many of our shores. Usually a pair are seen in one anemone, living safely among tentacles that would otherwise sting other animals. Elsewhere, seen from 1-5m deep. It is also sometimes called the Clown anemone shrimp. It was previously Periclimenes brevicarpalis.

Features: To about 4cm. Body almost transparent, especially the smaller male. Pincers long transparent with purple bars. The female is often larger and more brightly marked with more and larger white spots on the back, along the abdomen and the base of the tail. The male may be totally transparent except for the eyespots on the tail. Some also have a white tail and a white bar between the eyes like the female. In both the male and female, the tail has 5 black-ringed orange eyespots.

At low tide, they are more easily spotted at night when they are still somewhat active. During the day, they often remain hidden under the anemone.

Kusu Island, May 07

Five black-ringed orange spots on the tail.

The male often smaller and more transparent.

Home Sweet Home: We have seen these shrimps with these large sea anemones: Giant carpet anemones, Haddon's carpet anemones, Magnificent anemones, Leathery anemone, Pizza anemone, Bubble-tip anemone, Frilly sea anemone, Snaky anemone, Fire anemone.

Rarely, False clown anemonefishes are also found together with the anemone shrimps on the same anemone. They don't seem to bother one another.

Does it 'clean' fish? A filefish was once observed close to an anemone shrimp for some time. Could it be expecting the shrimp to clean it?

What does it eat? Anemone shrimps do not appear to eat the host anemone or off the anemone's fluids. Instead, they are believed to shelter in the anemone for protection and may feed on left overs. The shrimps have often been seen "hanging" over the edge of their anemone home with their pincers extended.

This filefish appeared to be
presenting itself to the shrimp
Pulau Sekudu, May 05

'Locked out' of its
sea anemone at low tide!
Kusu Island, Jul 04

Sometimes, both anemone shrimps and
anemonefishes share the same anemone.
Pulau Hantu, Jul 07

In a Haddon's carpet anemone
Kusu Island, Jul 04

In a Magnificent anemone
Pulau Hantu, Apr 04

In a Giant carpet anemone
Sentosa, Jun 07

On a pizza anemone.
Kusu Island, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

On a leathery anemone.
Kusu Island, May 10
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on his flickr.

On a snaky anemone.
Cyrene Reef, May 11

On a bubble-tip anemone
Sisters Island, Dec 12
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

On a Frilly anemone
Tanah Merah, May 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

On a Fire anemone
East Coast PCN, Aug 2023

Peacock-tail anemone shrimps on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Berlayar Creek, Oct 17
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

St John's Island, Oct 20
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.

Terumbu Semakau, May 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Terumbu Raya, May 10
Photo shared byGeraldine Lee on her blog.

Terumbu Bemban, Apr 11
Photo shared by Russel Low on facebook.

Pulau Salu, Aug 10

Pulau Salu, Aug 10

Pulau Salu, Aug 10

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Pulau Senang, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Pulau Senang, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

On a pizza anemone.
Pulau Pawai, Dec 09
Shared by James Koh on his flickr.

Peacock-tail anemone shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) on Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni)

Filmed on Cyrene Reefs, Jul 08

anemone shrimp @ cyrene reef from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.

Filmed on Cyrene Reef, Apr 10

Filmed on Cyrene Reef, Mar 11

anemone shrimp @ Cyrene 23Mar2011 from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.



  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
  • Jones Diana S. and Gary J. Morgan, 2002. A Field Guide to Crustaceans of Australian Waters. Reed New Holland. 224 pp.
  • Humann, Paul and Ned Deloach. 2010. Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific New World Publications. 497pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H and Helmut Debelius. 2009. World Atlas of Marine Fauna. IKAN-Unterwasserachiv. 723pp.
  • Gosliner, Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawaii exclusive of the vertebrates Sea Challengers. 314pp.
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