Everyone who is familiar with the shrimp hobby will recognise this shrimp – the freshwater Cardinal shrimp, Caridina dennerli. In fact it is often considered the ‘face’ of Sulawesi in terms of aquatics.
Its usual body colouration is opaque red (changing tone from bright red to almost black) with evenly distributed white spots and two pairs of white chelipeds at the front of the body (left). It appears that mutation is relatively common in this species, however; resulting in new phenotypes arising in populations.
Some of you may remember when Chris Lukhaup, renowned freshwater-crustacean photographer, presented images of an unusual Cardinal mutation (right) a while back. This shrimp had less uniform white spots, of varying size and odd distribution. To my knowledge, no attempt has been made to stabilise this mutation in a population.
However, a shrimp enthusiast has bred a new strain of Cardinal shrimp: the White Legged Cardinal shrimp. In this mutation, all pereopods and even the third maxillipeds are white for 3 segments dactyl-up. Stefan Bischoff, breeder of this strain, says he has bred the Cardinal shrimp for 3 years and this new strain for a year. He claims this mutation is stable in his population, and photos seem to confirm this. I would like to point out that according to Stefan the shrimp do not have unusual spot distribution, it is merely camera blur. However, the white colour of the spots seems very strong, so congratulate him on very happy shrimp!
Perhaps the Cardinal will be the new Bee shrimp, forming many mutations in the future and becoming an obsession of the hobby. I feel this shrimp is still given a wide berth due to how difficult it is to keep in aquaria, but perhaps with the new methods for keeping Sulawesi shrimp will come a new breed of aquarist who selectively breed Sulawesi species.
Second photograph courtesy of Chris Lukhaup.
Photographs of White Legged Cardinal shrimp courtesy of Stefan Bischoff.