Fish Lab - Ecology

The Ultimate Shrimpgoby Guide -
A Shrimpgoby Smorgasbord!

An amazing relationship exists between certain snapping shrimps and a guild of gobies. This partnership is one of the most amazing examples of symbiosis on the reef and can be easily observed by any diver that spends time in the Indo-Pacific. A speckleback shrimpgoby (Amblyeleotris sp.) with its shrimp partner is shown here.
Photo by Scott W. Michael.

The coral reefs of the world are characterized by a long and relatively stable environmental history. This stability has facilitated the development of complex interactions between certain fishes and invertebrates, some of which are a favorite subject of underwater photographers. The most familiar of these associations occurs between sea anemones and anemonefishes. But even more spectacular than this well-known partnership, is the relationship that exists between certain gobies and snapping shrimp of the genus Alpheus.

In the Shrimpgoby Smorgasbord we will examine the biology of the shrimpgobies and their snapping shrimp partners. We will do this in the form of seven slide shows. The titles of all the slide shows are given below along with a short description of the subject matter to be covered. Parts 1 and 2 are available now for you to enjoy. The remaining segments will be presented over the next few weeks.

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All text by Scott W. Michael. Photo by S. W. Michael unless otherwise noted.

  The Shrimpgoby Smorgasbord
1 Gobies and Snapping Shrimp
Let's take a look at the family Gobiidae, the largest group of fishes represented on coral reefs and a cryptic group of crustaceans known as the snapping shrimps (Alpheidae).
2 A Partnership is Formed
An amazing relationship exists between certain gobies and snapping shrimp. In this portion of the Shrimpgoby Smorgasbord we'll look at how this relationship benefits the goby partners.
3 Shrimp Benefits
We have seen how the goby profits from this relationship, but what advantage does the crustacean benefit? In this section of the Smorgasbord we will find out!
4 Interphyletic Communication
How do the shrimpgobies and the snapping shrimp communicate with one another? Read this section of the Smorgasbord and find out!
5 Time Budget and Social Behavior
What is the typical shrimpgoby's day all about? In this section, we will find out what these gobies spend their time doing, including information about their social lives.
6 Reproduction
Learn about the interesting reproductive behavior of the shrimpgobies and their snapping shrimp partners.
7 Predators
Even though the shrimpgoby and snapping shrimp are able to avoid many predators, there are some fishes that do prey on these animals. Learn about their enemies and the strategies that the shrimpgobies use to avoid being eaten.
CoralRealm Shrimpgobies
Click Button for a listing of shrimpgoby species profiles in our Fish Encyclopedia.
9 CRU Online Quiz covering Parts 1 - 4 of the Shrimpgobie guide.
10 CRU Online Quiz covering Parts 5-7 of the Shrimpgobie guide.