If you practice scuba diving, you have certainly seen, small fish or shrimp, in the Cleaning shrimps, gobies and labrum are certainly among the most active. Instances of mutualism and commensalism between alpheid shrimp and Snapping shrimp have also been shown to live mutualistically with goby fish in likely restrict their burrowing activities to soft mud habitats (Williams. One of the more curious relationships that most divers would have come across, is that between the marine goby fish and the shrimp.
But the unexpected happened: The goby immediately took action and grabbed the Caulerpa with its mouth. That moment, the shrimp lost antenna contact with the fish and quickly rushed backward to the entrance. The goby transported the lost food to the entrance and spit it out into the entrance of the burrow where the shrimp was waiting.
The fish was actively feeding the shrimp! I tested this observation and pulled algae off the rocks. When the fish was in the entrance of the burrow, I threw a 1. The goby directly approached it while it was still floating in the water column, collected it and brought it to the burrow. That collecting behavior could be induced up to five times repeatedly.
The shrimp handled the algae inside the burrow in the meantime. I could never observe that the shrimp were keeping algae in certain parts of the burrow. There was not a special storage chamber for algae pieces.
Instead the algae pieces were pushed around, and the shrimp fed on them here and there. After some days, the algae disappeared completely. Breeding in the Burrow While the reproduction of the shrimp is not spectacular, that of the gobies bears some peculiar aspects.
- Cleaning shrimps
- Materials and Methods
- A Scientific History
Close to mating, the male and female gobies start a wild circular dance in an extended side corridor of the burrow. They stimulate each other head to tail, which causes sand and gravel to fall from the ceiling.
The gobies can successfully mate only when the shrimp are healthy and have hard tests. The female does not go back to the breeding chamber—the male fish is the only one to care for the eggs. Usually, he moves the approximately 2, eggs which can easily be done, as the eggs are attached to each other and form a bundle by moving his pectoral fins backward and forward.
He swims around the eggs once in a while, which supplies oxygen to the eggs. Oxygen is low in chambers deep in the sand; only intensive care will keep them oxygenated. The male goby protects the eggs against a potential predator in the burrow: In fact, the shrimp couple never gets access to the fish eggs.
The male goby is busy guarding the eggs during this period and rarely leaves the burrow. If he does leave, he closes the breeding chamber with sand. He pushes sand into the entrance of it with his head or tail. When he comes back, he just wiggles through the pile of sand to come back to the eggs. After seven to 10 days depending on temperature or perhaps oxygen supply the larvae are ready to hatch.
Hatching always happened at night with my fish, and by morning the larvae had all left the burrow, probably guided by the light. Giving and taking is incredibly developed in this symbiosis and likely evolved under the influences of the harsh environment with limited access to shelter and food. Reproductive success depends on the activity of the partners. To protect their offspring, the gobies keep the shrimp away.
Keep in mind that different species of goby associated with another shrimp species will exhibit some different behaviors than those that I observed. The capacities of both partners depend, for example, on body size. A tiny shrimp such as the reddish-white banded Alpheus randalli which can be found together with smaller gobies such as Stonogobiops species simply cannot handle the excavation work necessary for a larger fish, such as Cryptocentrus species.
The burrows of those tiny species are smaller and take longer to build. Maybe these species are mostly successful in a less harsh environment.
The Symbiotic Relationship Between Gobies And Pistol Shrimp
In other areas you can find tiny Stonogobiops species with the more massive Alpheus bellulus shrimp. That just shows that the gobies can change partners during their life history. Even apart from body size, the gobies will exhibit different behaviors, so choose species from the perspective of the shrimp and not just what you think will look good in your tank. Johannes Duerbaum is a marine biologist specializing in echinoderms and copepods.
He worked for Schuran Seawater Equipment and joined Sera seven years ago. He has also written articles for various publications. Organisms included in trials were abundant crustacean prey items in mid-Atlantic marshes Daiber, Each crab and prey item were housed in a mL plastic container with recirculating sea water to a depth of 2 cm. This level approximated water depth on the marsh surface when crabs are most actively feeding i.
We monitored shrimp burrowing activity for four days. Results and Discussion Our extensive survey of salt marshes across four mid-Atlantic states showed that Alpheus heterochaelis was present in This suggests that snapping shrimp may associate with Panopeus for benefits other than those gained from inhabiting lairs alone e.
Potential associational benefits gained from cohabitation with crabs may include 1 lair maintenance by Panopeus, as unattended crab burrows in marshes quickly i. When living symbiotically with corals, alpheid shrimps ward off potential predators with thunderous snaps of their enlarged chelae Glynn, During excavation and disturbance of crab lairs Fig.
In the observed Panopeus-shrimp symbiosis Fig. Potential for cooperative guarding of lairs is suggested by mutualistic associations in tropical reef systems in which alpheid shrimps and xanthoid crabs co-defend shared habitats Lassig, ; Vannini, Common enemies are driven from shelters by aggressive attacks by crabs and snapping by shrimp.
Mud crabs would benefit from shrimp presence if snapping alerted the crab to move deep into its burrow to decrease chance of predation, a benefit most important during flood tides when natant predators e. View large Download slide A Panopeus herbstii in the salt marsh lying and waiting just outside the entrance of its U-shaped burrow to capture periwinkle snails. There is about 10 cm of water on the marsh surface.
Periwinkle middens are visible next to entrance of mud crab lair. These rhythms can be slightly effected by the tides too.
When the water level reaches cm above the burrow, activity usually stops Karplus The activity that the shrimp performs while outside the burrow does change however. In the morning, the shrimp usually leave with their chelae full of sediment and in the afternoon they are usually empty.
Also, most of the introduction of sediment, usually in the form of organic material for food usuage later, it introduced primarily in the afteroon. Finally, the amount of burrow construction activity, in the form of reinforcing the outer walls of the burrow, are mostly performed in the afteroon Karplus The activity of the shrimp begins and ends around surnrise and sunset respectively, however, not all individuals will begin at the same time. The start of activity takes place when a goby emerges from the sand, followed by the shrimp MagnusKarplus ; Yanagisawa Its believed that the begining of activity is synchronized by some sort of endogenous rhythm, while the end of activity is usually synchronized by the light levels, and thus the later is more sychronized amoung individuals Karplus Finally, activity varies amoung the sex of the shrimp.
Most of the activity outside the burrow is initiated by the male shrimp Yanagisawa Warning Communication The complexities of communication between the shrimp and the goby were first revealed by Lynn Moehring in when she produced her Master's Thesis at the University of Hawaii.
These findings were later published under her new last name, Preston, in The symbionts she used are shown artistically in the image to the right. The goby was Psilogobius mainlandi and the shrimp, Alpheus rapax and A. They are the same species I'm studying as part of a Predation study on Shrimp-Gobies.
She found that there is a complex warning communication between the two. The goby is essentially the 'guardian of the hole' as the shrimp has very limited visual abilities. Because of this, the shrimp, while outside the burrow, holds one antennae on the goby. If the goby sees a potential threat, it will give a slight tail flick.
This vibration is picked up by the shrimp who consequently darts into the hole. If the danger approaches further, the goby will shoot into the hole through a quick C-bend of the body and enter the hole. Ecology One of the questions asked by ecologists is, "What habitat does an organism live in?
The Symbiotic Relationship Between Gobies And Pistol Shrimp
There have been a few detailed studies, however, on habitat segregation and the use by goby and shrimp. These studies for the most part, show a high degree of habitat seggregation see Cummins For example, in the Seychelle Islands where Polunin and Lubbock observed 13 species of goby, 5 were only found in one habitat and an additional 4 were only found in 2 habitats.
Yanagisawa studied 20 species of shrimp-goby in southern Japan and found that they distrubuted themselves acording to distinct depth and bottom substrate preferences.
Finally, Karplus showed in the northern Red Sea that while gobies may vary a little with debth and microhabitat, they show relatively little variation compared to the shrimp that are actually digging the holes. Karplus' work aboveshows how well segregated different species of gobies and shrimp can be in relation substrate.
Population Dynamics The study of population dynamics and population ecology for the shrimp-goby relationship is exceedingly difficult, is made possible by the fact that tagged individuals almost invariably will be found again in the same general region if not the same hole, on future assessments.