Friday, August 10, 2007


 conjoined comensurates 2 DSCN5958
This post is by special request from Olivia.
This is a great example of natural symbiosis. The shrimp, an Alpheid, nearly blind, lives in a burrow it digs in the substrate along with an Orange Spotted Shrimp goby. Amblyeleotris guttata (Fowler, 1938)
Normally a shrimp would move around with it`s antennae, pointed forward. As you can see, one antennae, is folded back over the shrimp & is touching the Goby. It will never go any farther away than the length of it`s antennae from the Goby.
If danger approaches, the shrimp gets a signal from the Goby through it`s antennae, & scoots down into it`s burrow. The fish then immediately follows.
The shrimp thus is protected by the seeing fish, & in return the fish eats the small "bugs" the shrimp disturbs while burrowing.
These shots are hard to take because of the everpresent early warning system the pair uses. If the shrimp is out when I approach , the Goby will alert it as if I represent danger. This degree of difficulty is compounded by the fact that the burrows, interconnected below the surface, are very close to the tank wall. If they lived further back it might be a little easier because I would not be seen as a danger so readily.
The danger also comes from within the reef itself. By clicking on Planet Earth, you will see a Coral Banded Shrimp on the prowl in close proximity to the burrow, being stood up to by the Goby.
In the header image is where Waldo can be found. Clicking Waldo will take you to Waldo`s world. This crab, unknown Genus, is a little smaller than a dime & often just seem to appear out of nowhere but may have been in the reef for years. It`s always a new thrill when you find a new animal in your tank. These creatures, called "Hitch-hikers", come into the reef in early stages of their developement on live rock, the solid foundation upon which a reef builds. I call him Waldo, because I always wonder, Where`s Waldo.


AndiF said...

I can't thank you enough for the time you take writing up these posts. Both your writing and your photographs are well-crafted, gorgeous, and entrancing.

NDD said...

I second what andif said!

I'm continually mesmerized here.

Nancy P said...


And, awwww. If only they could mate, what a pretty spotted baby they could have.

olivia said...

Head, that is fascinating! Thank you so much for taking the time to photograph and write this post. And thanks to the shrimp and Goby for not being too spooked to allow you time to photograph them. I was just over viewing the slide show ... fantastic!

There is so much going on in this world that we don't know -- I would have have thought of a fish and shrimp working together this way. I'm so glad that you set up your b, so that you can delight us w/ all these wonderful photos and facts about things we never even knew to imagine.

LOL Nancy!

olivia said...

That should be I would never have ... :)

olivia said...

Waldo sure is a hairy little dude.

Hairy, but beautiful ... :D

Family Man said...

Hiya Head.

I'm in total agreement with everybody. Your pictures are breath taking to begin with, but the added commentary makes something wonderful even more so.

The first picture in the slides with the stand of Gorgonia, at first glance, I thought it was cactus in the desert somewhere.

Excellent work Head.

Knucklehead said...

That`s not only nice of you to say, I`m a foot taller now. It`s the booster seat you gave me.

Knucklehead said...

I`m at a foot & a half.

Knucklehead said...

Nancy p
Two feet & rising.
I betta "fin" it would be a Bay Shrimp not spotted.
But pretty, yes.

Knucklehead said...

Well, Olivia,
Without your help & a little of my imagination, I wouldn`t have a place to share these vignettes.
A lot of the time I just pick a post subject involving my animals by going through files. The other day I happened on a folder with 108 sub folders of my tank images. I go exploring in those. That`s where I found Waldo. Getting a request helps a lot. That way I know what to go look for in my files.
The nice thing about exploring past files is running across image groupings I forgot about.
"Things we never knew to imagine" is the greatest way to put it. I`m still getting surprised , don`t think I`m not. These mini ecosystems are truly amazing.
I knew what you meant (below).

Knucklehead said...

I have pix of other Waldo`s in another reef here. I`ll post a link some time when I run across it. It`s amazing that I ever found him. I really only found him, after downloading another image & saw him in perfect focus inside the rockwork. The pinpoint sized red eyes got me to zoom in for the exciting discovery.

Knucklehead said...

I`ll do a post on Gorgonia`s soon. They are a very nice looking colony. Some rare colonies are beyond beautiful. Dark red with baby blue polyps. I have pix of that special colony. It`s not one of mine, but is it ever a beauty.

olivia said...

Dark red with baby blue polyps.

Oh yes, I'd love to see that too!

Knucklehead said...

If you`d like to see it, I`ll have to trouble you into clicking this link.
There`s a beautiful purple one beyond the click also, & the surrounding corals where it lives.

dada said...

absolutely fascinating symbiosis

you sir, have a window on an intriguing world that relatively few are even aware exists.

thank you for sharing it with us.



Knucklehead said...

You`re telling me.
I still search out strangers in the night.
I still make discoveries in my tanks that I don`t expect. Just a few months ago, I found out what a certain animal was, that I had seen parts of over the years, but never saw the complete specimen. By sheer luck, a crab had overturned a rock & there it was.
I call it "Super nova" but it`s called an Orange Ball Anemone, & it isn`t even an anemone but a Discosoma.
Watch for the Super Nova next week. As you know Super Nova means a previously undiscoverd star, or new star. This specimen is definitely a star.
Most of you have no idea how much I get out of sharing these wonders, so selfishly I keep doing it. Once an addict, always an addict.
Thanks dada.

olivia said...

Head, that is so beautiful.

Knucklehead said...

Olivia, I`m reluctantly going to attribute that comment to the link above. I was thinking, my new hairdo, (how would you know), the flowers I got,(likewise), so it must be the patriotic Gorgonia.
The person who had this cutting from a mother Gorgonia, got $300.00 for this one.

Man Eegee said...

What everyone else said, this is an amazing blogspace! Thx, 'head.

Knucklehead said...

Thanks Manny,
I haven`t been visiting around all the other good blogs , only because I`ve been consumed in business dealings.
I`ll insert the cipher here. You know how I feel. The 20th letter & the 15th letter. Let em figure it out. Peace, man.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!