Shrimps pair up at the Blue Reef Aquarium

Theresa Paddon with her two children, Lee, 18 months, and Darren, three, at their home in Leigh Park

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Love was in the water at the Blue Reef Aquarium after two scarlet-coloured skunk shrimps paired up recently.

The scarlet, or skunk cleaner shrimp, which gets its name from its brightly-coloured body and the white stripe which runs down its back, is widespread in the Red Sea and tropical Indo-Pacific.

Keepers at the Southsea attraction have separated the pair and placed them into a special breeding tank.

‘All skunk cleaner shrimps are born male, however they each have the ability to turn into females. As long as you have at least two shrimps together, they will be able to breed,’ said Blue Reef’s Martyn Chandler.

‘This particular pair have already started producing eggs, which they carry on their legs, so we are optimistic it won’t be too long before 
the first babies start hatching out.

‘In the wild they are often found on coral reefs, especially around cave entrances and overhangs, where they set up cleaning stations.’