The blind shrimp and the macaroni goby - NAD-Lembeh Resort
The Pistol Shrimp or Snapping Shrimps of the Alpheus shrimp, family are fish that form a symbiotic relationship with the shrimp and act as the. Instances of mutualism and commensalism between alpheid shrimp and other For example, in shallow-water Caribbean environments, the red Snapping shrimp have also been shown to live mutualistically with goby fish in burrows. We surveyed mud crab lairs for presence of snapping shrimps in. Who would have thought that the symbiotic relationship between Goby Fish and Pistol Shrimp could be a surprisingly useful point of reference when discussing.
I also kept the young gobies separated. By changing the partners in one tank, I could easily find out if two specimens would go together, which is the indication for different sexes. In the next step, I brought both couples together in the observation tank. I kept the interior of the tank simple: The shrimp started building the burrow immediately after I introduced them in a little cup and directed them into a gap I made under a piece of live rock.
Then the fish were added. It did not take longer than an hour, and the double couple was together. During the next days, the burrow grew.
The shrimp transported all excavated material and pushed it outside the burrow. They used their claws to push the sand like a little bulldozer. This astonishing skill can only be performed if the goby is out to guard their safety. When the tunnel system grew, the partner behaved differently under subterranean conditions. The narrow space in the burrow causes them to squeeze their partners against the burrow wall. The fish tend to wiggle through the burrows with force and no hesitation toward their crustacean partners.
Due to the action, parts of the burrow system would often collapse. A fish buried under sand stays there without panic the shrimp can smell it and waits until the shrimp digs it out and begins to repair the burrow. The main way into the burrow can be up to 2 feet long during the first days of excavation. Soon after, side ways are constructed, which can be as short as 2 inches.
They can be driven forward and later form an exit to the surface, or they are extended to form a subterranean chamber. Repeatedly, I could observe the shrimp molting in these chambers.
This happens during the night every two to four weeks. The next morning, I would find exuviae close to them, and the female was carrying eggs on her abdominal legs if the shrimp are in good condition, molting and egglaying coincide.
The shrimp cut the exuviae into pieces and transported them out of the burrow as soon as their new test hardened. Hatching of the zoea larvae seems to happen overnight, which makes sense to avoid predators as long as possible.
Pistol Shrimp and Gobbies: Perfect Partners
The currents caused by the beating of the pleopods must pump the eggs out of the burrows, where they become a part of the plankton. The shrimp are omnivorous and collect large pieces of frozen fish positioned close to the entrance of the burrow.
They collect the food and transport it immediately into the burrow, where they feed on it. However, outside they can also be observed eating algae growing on rocks. The shrimp directly gnaw with their mouth pieces on rock where algae is growing. Even more fascinating was that I found parts of the algae Caulerpa racemosa inside the burrow system, though it grew more in another edge of the tank.
It took some time until I could observe that the shrimp cut these algae with their claws if they get access to it. However, that can only happen when fish and shrimp are on a coexcursion outside the burrow. In one instance, after cutting, the shrimp lost the algae due to the currents in the tank. 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.
Pistol Shrimps and Gobies: Perfect Partners (Full Article)
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. Some gobies have in an amazing evolutionary process acquired the help of a group of shrimps in order to create shelter in the barren open areas. The shrimps belong to the pistol shrimps of the genus Alpheus, shrimps that often dig burrows.
The gobies, in contrast, have excellent vision, and, furthermore, have their pelvic fins extended as a pedestal. In the relationship between the shrimp and the goby, the Alpheus shrimp digs a burrow, which is used as shelter by both the shrimp and the goby.
The Symbiotic Relationship Between Gobies And Pistol Shrimp
In turn, the goby spends its day outside the opening of the tunnel, resting on its extended pelvis fins, and keeping carefully watch over the immediate area, alerting the shrimp when danger comes to close, resulting in the shrimps retreat into the burrow. Goby with partner shrimp The goby-shrimp relationship is an example of what is called an obligate mutualism. These gobies are never found without their shrimp partners, and, conversely, the partner shrimp are never found without their goby partners.
As far as I know, coral reef areas and their immediate surroundings offer by far the most examples of such interspecies symbiotic relationships essential for both species survival. The real cool thing about the shrimp-goby symbiosis is that the shrimp and the goby go one step further in their coevolution than most other species pairs.
To examine whether or not Panopeus will consume Alpheus and other marsh crustaceans, we conducted no-choice predation experiments in the laboratory. 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.