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Phylum Arthropoda > Subphylum Crustacea > Class Malacostraca > Order Decapoda > prawns and shrimps >
Family Palaemonidae
'Gelek' anemone shrimp
Ancylomenes holthuisi
Family Palaemonidae
updated Jan 2020
Where seen? This slender shrimp is rarely seen, sometimes in large sea anemones. It 'dances' in a waggling way: 'gelek' means dance in Malay.

Features: About 2cm. Body almost transparent with a brown-spotted white patch behind its head, a white patch on its 'butt', with purplish-blue tips on its tail and pincers.

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.

Seen in a Haddon's carpet anemone.
Changi, Aug 13

Seen in a Haddon's carpet anemone.
Changi, Aug 13

'Gelek' anemone shrimps on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Seen in a Magnificent anemone.
Pulau Semakau, Aug 11

Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

Heng Pei Yan shares this video clip of the shrimp doing the typical 'waggle'

Thanks to Marcus Ng for sharing the identity of this shrimp


  • Toh Chay Hoon. 20 December 2013. Shrimps and saddleback anemonefish on carpet anemone off Pulau Hantu: Holthuis’s anemone shrimp, Periclimenes holthuisi and Saddleback anemonefish, Amphiprion polymnus. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2013: 126-127.
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