10 Things You Didn’t Know About Camel Shrimp

Fact Checked by
Sheldon Myers, MS / Aquarist

Camel shrimp, also known as humpback shrimp or dancing shrimp, are fascinating marine creatures with many unique characteristics. In this article, we’ll explore 10 lesser-known facts about these intriguing shrimp that will make you appreciate their complexity and marvel at the wonders of the underwater world.

The Unique World of Camel Shrimp

What Are Camel Shrimp?

Camel shrimp (Rhynchocinetes uritai) are small crustaceans that belong to the family Rhynchocinetidae. They’re known for their distinct humpbacked appearance and ability to change colors for camouflage. Their name “dancing shrimp” comes from their unique way of swimming and moving around.

Habitat and Distribution

Camel shrimp inhabit the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region, including the Red Sea, eastern Africa, and the Hawaiian Islands. They’re commonly found in reef environments, hiding in rock crevices and coral formations during the day and venturing out to forage at night.

10 Fascinating Facts About Camel Shrimp

Colorful and Transparent Camouflage

Color Variations

Camel shrimp display an incredible variety of colors, ranging from red, orange, and yellow to green, blue, and purple. They can even change their colors depending on their surroundings, mood, and overall health.

Transparency for Stealth

These shrimp have a unique feature: a semi-transparent body. This characteristic allows them to blend in with their environment, making them difficult for predators to spot.

Social Creatures

Camel shrimp are social animals, often found in groups called “aggregations.” They communicate with each other through body language, using their antennae and appendages to signal their intentions.

Mating and Reproduction

Monogamous Relationships

Camel shrimp are monogamous, forming long-term pair bonds with their chosen partners. Males will guard and protect their mates from other males, ensuring their offspring’s success.

Egg Care

Female camel shrimp carry their fertilized eggs in a brood pouch under their abdomen until they hatch. During this time, the female will clean and aerate the eggs to ensure their proper development.

Feeding Habits

Scavengers and Detritivores

Camel shrimp are primarily scavengers and detritivores, feeding on dead plant and animal matter, as well as algae and other organic debris. Their diet helps maintain a clean and healthy environment in their reef habitats.

Opportunistic Predators

Although they mostly feed on dead and decaying matter, camel shrimp can also be opportunistic predators. They may occasionally hunt for small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates when the opportunity arises.

Unique Locomotion

Camel shrimp have a distinctive way of moving around. They “dance” by propelling themselves backward using their tail fan, performing a series of jerky, quick movements. This peculiar locomotion helps them navigate the rocky and coral-filled environments they call home.

Defense Mechanisms

When faced with a threat, camel shrimp use various tactics to evade predators. They can rapidly change color, making it harder for predators to spot them. Additionally, they may release a cloud of ink-like fluid to confuse and deter their assailants.

Nocturnal Lifestyle

These shrimp are primarily nocturnal creatures, spending their days hiding in rock crevices and coral formations. As night falls, they become more active, venturing out to forage for food and socialize with other camel shrimp.

Molting Process

Like other crustaceans, camel shrimp must molt, or shed their exoskeleton, to grow. They usually molt every few weeks, and the process can take several hours. After molting, the shrimp are vulnerable until their new exoskeleton hardens, so they tend to hide in a safe location during this time.

Aquarium Compatibility

Camel shrimp are popular choices for marine aquariums due to their unique appearance and fascinating behaviors. However, they may not be suitable for all tank setups, as they can be aggressive toward other shrimp and small fish. Careful consideration should be given to their tankmates to ensure a harmonious environment.

Longevity and Lifespan

Camel shrimp have a relatively short lifespan, typically living for around two to three years. However, with proper care and a healthy environment, some individuals may live longer.


Camel shrimp are fascinating and unique creatures that showcase the incredible diversity of marine life. With their captivating colors, intriguing behaviors, and adaptability, it’s no wonder they’ve captured the attention of both scientists and aquarium enthusiasts alike. As we continue to learn more about these remarkable shrimp, we can better appreciate the complex world beneath the waves.


  1. How big do camel shrimp get? Camel shrimp typically grow to about 2 inches (5 centimeters) in length.
  2. Can camel shrimp be kept with coral? Generally, camel shrimp are considered reef-safe and can be kept with coral. However, they may occasionally disturb or feed on some soft coral species.
  3. What is the best way to care for camel shrimp in an aquarium? Provide them with a stable, well-maintained marine environment with plenty of hiding spaces, such as rockwork and coral. Ensure they have a balanced diet of detritus, algae, and other appropriate food sources.
  4. Do camel shrimp reproduce in captivity? Yes, camel shrimp can reproduce in captivity. However, successfully raising the larvae to adulthood can be challenging due to their specific care requirements.
  5. What predators do camel shrimp have in the wild? Camel shrimp have a variety of predators, including fish, other crustaceans, and even some marine invertebrates like sea stars and nudibranchs.
Elliot Galindo
Elliot Galindohttp://ShrimpPro.com
Elliot Galindo is a highly educated expert on freshwater shrimp and their care as pets. He received his Bachelor's degree in marine biology from the University of Oregon and has used that knowledge to become an authority on shrimp care.



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