Monday, May 4, 2015

AN ODD-COUPLE

 A pair of yellow shrimpgobies (Cryptocentrus cinctus) and an undescribed species of snapping shrimp on a sandy slope in the Raja Ampats. The gobies keep watch as the shrimp performs its maintenance duties. 

In the shrimpgoby-snapping (pistol) shrimp relationship both members benefit (mutualistic). The shrimp’s burrow provides a sanctuary for the otherwise vulnerable goby. In exchange, the gobies act as "seeing-eye" fish for their relatively poor-sighted crustacean partners (note: some crustacean experts have suggested that these shrimp actually see quite well, even so their visual acuity is not as good as that of the goby). As the shrimp keeps house or feeds just outside of the burrow, the goby will sit near the burrow’s entrance and “stand guard” (it will also feed and interact with conspecifics at this time as well). The crustacean moves freely in and out of its refuge, but when it leaves the burrow it keeps in contact with the vigilant goby. It does this by placing one of its antennae on the fish. When a predatory fish approaches, the goby will rapidly flick its tail, warning the shrimp of impending danger. If the goby flicks its tail once the shrimp may not respond, but if the goby executes a series of flicks the shrimp will retreat. If the predator comes within a critical distance, the goby will also dart into its hiding place.

We at Reef Tectonics love shrimpgobies and their snapping shrimp partners and would love to set-up this fantastic symbiotic relationship in your aquarium! 

© Scott W. Michael - Reef Tectonics

Reef Tectonics Aquarium Maintenance and Design - Lincoln, Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City 

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