Shrimps clean up at Sea Life Centre

A NEW tropical pool has opened at Scarborough’s Sea Life Centre with a touchable twist.

The centre is now home to a school of cleaner shrimps.

As well as being pretty to look at the colourful creatures double up a miniature manicurists.

They like nothing better than to perch on people’s finger tips and give their cuticles a spruce up.

To mark their arrival in Scarborough the cleaner shrimps were pitted against nail professionals in the manicure stakes.

The first 10 people visiting the tropical touchpool got a free cleaner shrimp manicure.

The treatments were then completed to a professional standard by nail technicians from The Crown Spa Hotel.

Lyndsey Crawford, displays curator at Scarborough Sea Life Centre, said: “In the wild, these beautiful shrimps run cleaning stations for a variety of tropical fish.

“They eat any dead scales, ridding them of parasites.

“It seems any dead or flaky skin around human finger nails is just as appetising for a hungry cleaner shrimp.

“All people have to do is dip their hands in their tank and hey presto, a free manicure.”

Cleaner shrimp is a generic term for any swimming decapod crustacean that cleans other organisms of parasites. Their cleaning activities are an example of symbiosis: a relationship in which both parties benefit. The fish benefit by having parasites removed, and the shrimp gain the nutritional value of the parasites. In many coral reefs, cleaner shrimp congregate at cleaning stations.