Popular Bee shrimps get scientific names

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Chinese scientists have formally named some of the bee shrimps that have been in the aquarium trade for some time.

The descriptions of four new species of the atyid shrimp Caridina were published in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa by Liqing Wang, Xiangqiu Liang and Fan Li: Caridina maculata, C. meridionalis, C. tumida and C. venusta.

The four new species all were collected in Guangdong province in southeastern China, and differ from other members of the genus in several key anatomical features (colour pattern is very seldom used to distinguish shrimp species because it can be very variable).

The authors also report that C. maculata and C. venusta are the species exported in large quantities to Japan and Singapore for the aquarium trade as bee shrimp.

The habitat of the Bee shrimp, Caridina maculata, by Hang Zhou.

Caridina maculataThis species is named after its spotted colour pattern (Latin macula, meaning spot).

According to the authors, this species ...inhabit a clear brook in the mountains, with few aquatic macrophytes and some residual tree leaves in a rocky bottom.

The Bee shrimp, Caridina maculata, in its natural habitat by Hang Zhou.

Caridina meridionalisThis species is named after its distribution (southern China; Latin meridionalis meaning southern), and according to the authors "...crawl on the roots and stems of aquatic macrophytes thickly cover the shallow mountain gully.

Caridina tumidaThis species is named after the swollen chela of the first pereiopod (Latin tumidus, meaning swollen). The authors states that this species ...crawl on the deadwood and defoliate leaves in the upstream of rivers with few aquatic macrophyte of the mountain waterfall.

Caridina venustaThis species is named after the Latin word for elegant (venustus), in allusion to its colour pattern.

It is believed that selective breeding of this species gave rise to the crystal red shrimp.

The authors state that this species ...inhabit a stream with sandy bottom and big stones with few aquatic macrophytes in a mountain gully.

For more information, see the paper: Wang, L-Q, X-Q Liang and F Li (2008) Descriptions of four new species of Caridina (Decapoda: Atyidae) from China. Zootaxa 1726, pp. 49"59.

For details on how to keep these species see Dwarf bumblebee shrimp, Chris Lukhaup, Practical Fishkeeping.