The Symbiotic Relationship Between Gobies And Pistol Shrimp
Hi I recently acquired a Pink Bar Goby from my LFS who quarantined him for over I wanted to get him/her a pistol shrimp but wont do it if he doesnt burrow. I am very happy with my PBG either way but wanted to observe the symbiotic relationship. thanks for reading! . QuoteSpoilerCodeStrike-through. The symbiosis between gobies and pistol shrimp is one of the many that can occur in our marine aquariums. In the goby and pistol shrimp symbiosis, both. Goby and the Blind Shrimp has 6 ratings and 6 reviews. Thomas said: This was a GoodReads posavski-obzor.info was a nice little children's book with good them.
Goby and the Blind Shrimp by Amanda DeLisle
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.
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. The goby is capable of communicating levels of danger to the shrimp. Thus, the shrimp sometimes respond to signals from the goby by working closer to the burrow opening, sometimes by working in the actual burrow opening, and sometimes by totally retreating into the burrow itself.
This quite detailed interspecific communication is very rare in nature, at least when invertebrates such as shrimp are parts of the interaction. Goby with partner shrimp The actual method of the communication between the pair is performed by contact of one of the very long antennas of the shrimp to the posterior dorsal fin of the goby.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.