Differences between Peppermint Shrimp and Camelback Shrimp.


Hi guys,
I want to buy Peppermint Shrimp, but I can tell it from camelback shrimp. How to tell their difference?


Active Member
If you want to purchase a Peppermint Shrimp to take care of aiptasia in your tropical reef tank, make sure you are actually getting L. wurdemanni.
Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) are common additions to marine aquaria as a result of their interesting behavior, sociability and their reputation for hunting aiptasia. They are also a reef-safe shrimp. Peppermint Shrimp are relatively inexpensive (usually less than $10 and considerably less if you buy more than one at a time) and readily available online or at the local fish store. Unfortunately, the so-called Peppermint Shrimp is often confused with several similar looking ornamental shrimp species, and this confusion can lead to major headaches, as these Peppermint Shrimp imposters are NOT reef safe. Here’s what you need to know about the real Peppermint Shrimp—L. wurdemanni.
Although the name Peppermint Shrimp is by far the most common name in the hobby for L. wurdemanni, you may see this shrimp called the Caribbean Cleaner Shrimp or the Candy Cane shrimp. L. wurdemanni is a crustacean belonging to the class Crustacea. It is also a cleaner shrimp, although it tends to spend more time scavenging in the aquarium rather than cleaning its tankmates. L. wurdemanni is an attractive, striped (sometimes called veined) shrimp seldom exceeding two inches in length. The body color can range from red to orange-yellow to opaque with longitudinal dark red stripes. Although frequently called a Caribbean Cleaner Shrimp, L. wurdemanni is found in the Atlantic as far north as New Jersey.
More likely than seeing a Peppermint Shrimp for sale as a Caribbean Cleaner Shrimp or a Candy Cane shrimp, you will see other species of shrimp sold as Peppermint Shrimp. This is one reason it is so important to:
Use the scientific name when ordering this shrimp, and
Know how to tell the difference between L. wurdemanni and the closely related species often sold as L. wurdemanni.
The most common L. wurdemanni imposters are Rhynchocinetes durbanensis, R. uritai and L. californica. Here is a brief description of each of the imposters:
R. durbanensis – Commonly known as the Camelback Shrimp, Camel Shrimp or Dancing Shrimp, R. durbanensis is from the Indo-Pacific and is NOT a cleaner shrimp. You may see it advertised as the Candy Shrimp or, of course, the Peppermint Shrimp. Sometimes it is also called the Hinged-Beak Shrimp, referring to its hinged beak or rostrum. R. durbanensis is patterned with red and white stripes (similar to some specimens of the species L. wurdemanni), but this ornamental shrimp is not reef-safe like the true Peppermint Shrimp, which will seldom harass any corals or anemones beyond aiptasia. R. durbanensis will eat aiptasia, but it may very well eat your soft corals also. This shrimp can be easily identified by the obvious “camel hump” on its back.
R. uritai – Commonly called the Camel Shrimp or Camelback Shrimp, like R. durbanensis, R. uritai is an Indo-Pacific shrimp and is also NOT cleaner shrimp. While very similar to R. durbanensis, R. uritai does not have the same pronounced beak and white streaking that R. durbanensis has. In addition, the coloration of R. uritai is somewhat duller. Further, R. uritai, unlike R. durbanensis, is currently known to be native only to Japan and Korea. Finally, the beak on R. durbanensis has 9-10 teeth along the top, whereas R. uritai only has 7-8 teeth. Like R. durbanensis, R. uritai will eat aiptasia but may very well eat your soft corals too.
L. californica –Commonly called the Lined Shrimp, the Red Rock Shrimp or the Catalina Cleaner Shrimp, L. californica is from the Eastern Pacific along the southern coast of the United States. Although similar in appearance to L. wurdemanni, L. californica is a temperate species and, therefore, inappropriate for the tropical reef tank.
If you want to purchase a Peppermint Shrimp to take care of aiptasia in your tropical reef tank, make sure you are actually getting L. wurdemanni.


Well-Known Member

My peppermint shrimp were red, the camel shrimp were striped...so I looked them up in my trusty book, here are the pages. You can see how peppermint shrimp could be mistaken for a camel shrimp. I posted the pages for you.
As you can read...striped shrimp will not eat aiptasia, be it called a peppermint or camel..only the little red ones eat it.
I have been reading that they are cold water shrimp..from these pages I now learned that only the striped "peppermint shrimp" are cold water..the red ones last for 4 years! So I learned something as well.
Hope this helps.



If you have aiptasia then and thats the reason you want them then don't be surprised if they don't eat them. I have a lot of aiptasia (well had) and as far as i could tell they had never touched them. so i bought some aiptasia x and that seems to have worked well. Also i put in the shrimp about a month ago and i hardly ever see them. last night was the first time i had seen all four i got together, i usually see one or two when i feed the tank and thats it. But i think they are pretty cool to have.


Originally Posted by lxxnp1234
Hi guys,
I want to buy Peppermint Shrimp, but I can tell it from camelback shrimp. How to tell their difference?
Here's some tips that I use to help:
- Peppermints (at least the type you want) are more red in coloration and have less WHITE. They're white should be more of a CLEAR coloring than an actual solid white. Camelback shrimp will have WHITE as opposed to the clear.
- Camelback shrimp usually have really odd, big eyes.
- Camelback shrimp look like they have a beak like a bird.
- Camelback shrimp have a more pointed tail. Peppermints have a tail similar to that of a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp.
- Peppermints have red or transparent red legs while Camelback shrimp have red and white stripes that continue from their body down to their legs.
Hope this helps.
I don't know whether you know or not, but Camelback shrimp will eat anemones and coral.