Feb 25, 2009

My Shrimp and Goby Pair

In July 2007, I found a Yasha white ray shrimp goby Stonogobiops yasha (sometimes incorrectly called Stonogobiops yashia) on sale at my Local fish store. She was all alone, no mate or shrimp. I brought her home and all was well. In August, I added a couple peppermint shrimps Lysmata wurdemanni. I was surprised when my goby took a liking to the larger of the shrimp. She allowed the shrimp to live in her home with her, which was a hole in the live rock. She showed the same behavior with the shrimp that she would have shown with a shrimp Yashas are naturally commensal with, Alpheus randalli. Any time the shrimp was in the hole, she would stand guard outside of the hole. The peppermint shrimp even kept an antennae on her body a lot of the time.

About six months ago, I saw a shrimp living with a Wheeler's goby at my local fish store that was labeled "Synalpheus sp." I figured the ID was wrong, but since it was living with a goby, I figured it would live with mine. I was wrong. My Yasha goby ignored my new pistol shrimp, and I never saw the pistol shrimp again. Except for its antennae while it was poking out of its burrow.

I finally was able to ID my pistol shrimp while I was writing my post Interesting Nano Crustaceans. At the time I bought it, I didn't know much about pistol shrimps. But recently I've been reading up on pistol shrimps and their taxonomy. I pulled out the photo I took of the shrimp the day I got it, and recognized it as an Alpheus ochrostriatus. On Monday, I took a trip to my local fish store and saw a Wheeler's goby, Amblyeleotris wheeleri, which is the shrimp's natural goby-friend. I brought it home!

Mere hours later, the two of them had found each other and were busy working on their new home. I'm happy to finally have a (natural) shrimp and goby pair!

August 13: UPDATE! my Yasha finally has her own shrimp friend! An Alpheus randalli, red banded pistol shrimp AKA candy pistol shrimp.

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