I have three cleaner shrimp in my office tank- two are female, one is male - but we had no idea until we were able to find TWO females with eggs at the same time.
As for the mating - who knows - all I can tell you is that the females don't like each other and stay apart - the male flits between the two of them, and each female seems to to reject the male's advances most of the time.
If your pairs of shrimp are "flirting" with each other, there is a fairly good chance you have one of each sex - if they are indifferent towards each other, they may be the same sex, but if one seems to be "running away" from the other, it might be a sign that one is male and attempting to mate... rejection seems to be common in shrimp courtship too it would seem!
On attempting to sex them visually - I have spent HOURS looking for differences - and I can't find anything... if someone knows, I'd like ot get that piece of information...
Lysmata genus shrimp, such as cleaners and peppermints, are all simultaneous hermaphrodites, that is they perform both male and female roles. Both your shrimp will bear fertile eggs but i can not say I've ever seen them actually copulate.
Webyourbusiness, as above all 3 of your shrimp are the same, they have no male/female genders.
Simulaneous hermaphrodites rare - and I don't think that lysmata are ie, I don't think they perform BOTH sexes roles at the same time, and this would seem to make the same statement - sex might be able to change, but at some point in time, a determination of the role of an individual must be made in this genus:
This seems to indicate that at least in Lysmata wurdemanni, the shrimp assumes a role for a period of time - not that they perform both male and female roles at the same time.
Now I'm NO EXPERT - and I would never claim to be - perhaps you are, and have research to the contrary - and if so, I don't care if I'm wrong, but would love to read something on the matter... and if that's the case, please post us a link to read.. I know that at any one time, I have TWO shrimp with eggs, and one chasing or herding them around, ergo - I have two females and one male (most of the time) - and I honestly could not tell if they were the same shrimp playing those 'roles'...
No i am no expert either, simultaneous hermaphrodites are not really rare in inverts. My opinion is from personal observation, i have two cleaners and both would carry fertile eggs at the same time, as do my peppermints. So when you say for a period of time i assume you mean for a day or so? wouldnt this be inefficient?
They are hermaphrodites. Maybe not simultaneous hermaphrodites. This is basically 'the cycle"
1. Female Lysmata Drops eggs
2. Female Lysmata Sheds
3. Male Lysmata Delivers sperm to female Lysmata, male Lysmata is currently holding eggs from the previous mating, in which he was a female.
4. Female lysmata turns to male lysmata
I am definately no expert. this is from my observations. A few steps maybe wrong or in a different order, but it's just basic.
ok - this all makes more sense - they play one role, then the other.
As the eggs first appear as unfertilized (clear) - and turn green when fertilized, it would be LOGICAL that they first play the role of female, produce eggs, and then turn male and produce sperm to fertilize, but the other scenario is that they are first male, produce sperm, store and then become female and use the stored sperm to fertilize their eggs.
I have observed that the females with eggs are very wary of each other, and make serious efforts to avoid each other (except during feeding when they only care about the crab/shrimp bites in the tank) - and that the one we have that is without eggs seems to be playing the role of suitor... but this could (and probably is) a misinterpretation of the behaviour.
However - there has to be some kind of cross-fertilizatin possibility, or the whole system leads into a downward spiral of bad genes - in-breeding of dogs ought to be the first clue that without diversity in genetics, their only lie problems down the road.
While I think that self fertilization through hermaphroditic behaviour is a way to continue the species, it's exclusive use can't be the only way to reproduce - could it?