Gorgonian Horned Shrimp (Miropandalus hardingi)
Also known as the dragon shrimp or black coral shrimp, Miropandalus hardingi is a species of pandalid shrimp that occurs throughout the New Caledonian and Reunion Exclusive Economic Zones. As its common name suggests, M. hardingi spends most of its life on the branches of gorgonians and whip corals. They possess an immense variation of color, and are matched by the corals on which they hang about. They spend their entire lives on the coral, feeding on passing organic matter and using the corals stinging cells (cnidocytes) for protection. M. hardingi's “horns” are thought to mimic the coral's stinging cells, to further deter predation.
Images: liquidguru and TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋)