Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby johnrt » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:43 am

Is there a good taxonomic key for the cleaner shrimp? Author and title would be OK as I do have access to University library account.

Thank you in advance,
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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby Clownfish75 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:45 pm

PM Spawner if anyone knows of a key he will.

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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby spawner » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:59 pm

I've been acting as the key...for the most part. Just post pictures and I'll ID for you. Chace 1997 has the most recent key for the genus, but it's not very easy to use or helpful in many cases as we've been very active describing species in the genus. My key for the wurdemanni complex Rhyne and Lin 2006 is helpful for most aquarium species but not all.
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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby johnrt » Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:57 pm

Thank you spawner for the offer. I was going at the problem from a different direction. I am planning on breeding Peppermint Shrimp, but specifically want to produce ones that *do* eat Aiptasia.

Historically, it has been said that some Peppermint Shrimp will eat Aiptasia and others not. It occurred to me, possibly wrongly, that it might be more correctly stated that some L. cf wurdemanni ate them and others did not and now that the L. wurdemanni have been split up, it might be known which species has the greatest appetite, where they come from and their distinguishing characteristics.

I have a friend who imports into Canada all manor of goodies for the salt water trade. If I know what I want, I have a fighting chance of getting it.

Anybody have any ideas?
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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby Suzy » Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:58 pm

The ones I have definitely eat aiptasia but I have never had Andy ID them. Would it be helpful to you?

I know they do because I need aiptasia for my bergias and I found out mine eat them on accident....
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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby johnrt » Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:48 pm

Hi Suzy,

Yes, It would be very helpful if you were to get an ID for your Peppermints. You might want to know as well.

The taxonomy of things moves faster than our knowledge of their life history and behaviors. What we thought we 'knew' about L. wurdemanni is really the combined behaviors of several different species. So now that it is recognized that they are different species, the question re-emerges, 'what do these animals do?'.

Do you happen to be rearing them?

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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby Suzy » Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:27 pm

Sorta....

I collect them to feed to other things. The stores in my area sell them for really cheap so it didnt seem worth it to grow them all the way.

I will shoot a photo and see if Andy can ID it.
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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby Amie » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:22 pm

johnrt wrote:Hi Suzy,

Yes, It would be very helpful if you were to get an ID for your Peppermints. You might want to know as well.

The taxonomy of things moves faster than our knowledge of their life history and behaviors. What we thought we 'knew' about L. wurdemanni is really the combined behaviors of several different species. So now that it is recognized that they are different species, the question re-emerges, 'what do these animals do?'.

Do you happen to be rearing them?

John T



I was under the impression that the l. wurdemanni were the only ones that eat aiptasia, is that incorrect?
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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby johnrt » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:33 pm

Hi Amie,
I was under the impression that the l. wurdemanni were the only ones that eat aiptasia, is that incorrect?


Much of the hobby literature agrees with your statement above, but many of the same references went on to say that some individual Peppermint shrimp would eat Aiptasia and others not, as if it were some type of preference thing. More recently, the animals that were described, and are still sold as, L. wurdemanni have now been recognized as several different and distinctly different species. One of those is still called L. wurdemanni and others have different names.

Here comes the fun part. The species are described, generally, according to physical characteristics: such as the size and shapes of body bits, coloration, markings or even DNA fingerprints, in short, things that can be measured in both living, dead and preserved specimens. Eating Aiptasia is a behavior and not well preserved. Now the rules of taxonomy state that the oldest name associated with the first specimen of a species that was formally described, is called the 'Type Specimen' and it is almost always a preserved specimen. So somewhat before 1850 a gent named Gibbes was looking at some preserved shrimp and concluded that there was a group of specimens that, taken together, were unlike any shrimp that he had seen before and named them L. wurdemanni. He then selected one individual that he felt was the most representative of the new group and designated it as the Type. Ideally, this exact specimen still exists and generally they do, as they are regarded as very important. (You must gave a very good reason to touch a Type.)

Over time, older collected specimens and newly collected animals accumulate, and people who have some experience with the group assigns names to these specimens according to their understanding of the characteristics associated with the recognized names within the group. Consequently, specimens from areas near and far from the original collection get assigned the same name as one of the Types, and through this process, we begin to get a clearer understanding of the variation in nature.

Occasionally, at some point somebody sits down an takes a look at a bunch of these identified specimens. Now there are all different because living things differ, some times the investigator observes that these 'differences' seems to form groups and you do not find intermediate forms. This leads the investigator to suspect that the original grouping, in this case L. wurdemanni, actually represents several different species. This physical observation might also be supported by some geographical data as well, such as all the ones with 3 blue spots on the carpus were always collected from deep water, while the ones with hairy legs comes from lagoons and another group is only found near one isolated island and so-forth. So let us say that what had been know as one group, L. wurdemanni, is now seen as four. The investigator goes back to the Type to discover which new group belongs with the Type. This group will retain the original name, L. wurdemanni, The investigator is then free to name the three new groups as they please (OK, I simplified here, because there may be some discredited names that need to be revived). The investigator will then describe, as clearly as they can, the four groups in an effort to assist future workers properly assign the names to specimens.

Since the eating of Aiptasia was not one of the characters that defined L. wurdemanni, it is quite possible that this behavior is now seen in only one or two of the new groups. When you think about it, eating or not eating Aiptasia is more likely to be a species trait than an individual preference. Particularly if that 'preference' is so strongly felt that the animal will stave rather than eating the polyp.

Most 'new species' are not found in the wild, but 'discovered' as preserved specimens in Museums and research labs. The investigators may or may not even look at living specimens.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby Suzy » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:47 am

Wow! Amazing! You really know this stuff!

The ones I have definitely eat aiptasia, because I have them in all my tanks. I have a tank that I grow macroalgae in, and when I want to give some away, I put it in the shrimp tank. The next day, it is clean!

But, my photo skilz suk...I will try again today. How detailed do you need?
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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby spawner » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:45 pm

John,

I did almost exactly as you just described in 2002-2004, which we published here decapoda.nhm.org/pdfs/27306/27306.pdf

Gibbes, living in Charleston South Carolina received specimens from Wurdemann who was living in Key West, he had tuberculous. He use to ship Gibbes specimens and write him letters about his experiences. There are some really great quotes in those letters, I spent quite a bit of time sorting through a lot of letters from Wurdemann or those received by Gibbes. Gibbes use to keep those specimens dried in his private cabinet (where Curio Cabinets are named from). When Gibbes died this cabinet was kept by his relatives, most of the specimens were lost or damaged. Because they were dried only the most calcified decapods remain and are in the collection at the Charleston Museum. There were no cardiean shrimp in this collection, when I inspected it, mostly crabs. So when I was trying to fix this situation I was able to use the fact Gibbes refers to shrimp collected in Charleston in his 150 word or so description of L. wurdemanni. So I collected or friends collected shrimp from Texas to New York and was able to fix the taxonomic status with a Neotype which is at the USNM in DC now with all the other holotypes of the new species I described. So at least we have a type now, honestly I could have done a few things to address the situation but that seemed to be the most logical.

I also published a population genetics paper on Lysmata wurdemanni, this is an interesting paper because its likely that we have a subspecies in the Gulf of Mexico. http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v388/p185-195/
Lots more to be done here on this topic.

We've also published a phylogeny of most the genus. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/10/297/abstract
Again more to be done here as well.

I'm sure we will find more species of Lysmata in the Atlantic and likely more in the Gulf of Mexico.

The real problem is that we need more taxonomist. The amazing alpha taxonomist are not being hired by Universities in the US. and its a sad state really because they are the ones that need to be called upon to address these sorts of issues. I had a lot of help from an amazing individual Arthur Anker, whom I named Lysmata ankeri after.

All the peppermints from the western Atlantic in the aquairum trade eat Aiptasia. It's likely not a species thing with these shrimp, it's more likely that it's a anemone issue (maybe people have different species of Aiptasia or some people have so much food in the tank that the shrimp don't eat the anemones. I would find it odd that individual shrimp would differ in such an interesting behavior but hey nobody has looked at this in great detail. Do you have a copy of my paper on the test we ran 10 years ago on the shrimp and anemones. Rhyne et al. 2004 Biological control of aquarium pest anemone Aiptasia pallida Verrill by peppermint shrimp Lysmata sp. (Risso)
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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby EasterEggs » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:30 pm

I have Lysmata boggessi in three tanks. Single specimens in two, and a trio in the other. The tank with the trio was badly infested with Aiptasia and the other two tanks had the odd one here and there. Within 3 days all tanks were cleared, and I haven't seen an Aiptasia since.

My shrimp came from a Florida supplier.
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Re: Looking for an identification key for Lysmata

Postby spawner » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:43 am

Yes that is my experience with this species, the data is very clear that they seek and destroy them. Larger shrimp and shrimp in groups do a better job of clearing out Aiptasia.
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