Local Color in the
Living Coral Exhibit
Coral reef communities are saturated with color.
The Living Coral exhibit at the New England Aquarium is no exception, especially with the two new additions to this vibrant exhibit.
You can find crowd-favorite orange clownfish and striped sailfin tangs cruising the reef while multi-colored mandarinfish skirt giant clams and soft corals along the bottom. But a few new additions are ramping up the color in this warm water exhibit across from the little blue penguins. Recently, aquarist Brianne Dent added nine fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius) and another many-banded pipefish (Doryhamphus multiannulatus) to this bustling reef community.
Like banded coral shrimp also in the exhibit, these invertebrates are cleaner shrimp, plucking any parasites off obliging reef fishes. This is a natural symbiotic relationship—the fish get a visit to the spa while the shrimp get a tasty meal. The shrimp are also known to tidy things up by scavenging uneaten food bits around the reef. While they can be shy, their blood red color makes them easy to spot when they’re crawling along the reef.
The many-banded pipefish is another colorful showstopper. They remain very slender but can grow to be 6 to 8 inches long. Copepods are on the menu, so look for these fish nosing about the exhibit looking for a small snack.