A number of gobies in several different genera have developed similar symbiotic relationships with several different species of snapping shrimp (Alpheidae). Both shrimp and fish use a burrow in the sand for protection from predators. The shrimp’s job is to dig and maintain the burrow, so it spends its entire day hauling out loads of sand from the burrow and dumping it outside. It does not see very well, and would make an easy meal for a passing predator. But fortunately for the shrimp, its goby partner has pretty good eyes. The fish acts as a lookout. If it sees something approaching that might constitute danger, it dives into the hole. If the shrimp is in the burrow, the fish prevents it from coming out. That might not help the shrimp if he’s outside at the time, but when out of the burrow, the shrimp keeps one of his antennae on the fish at all times. If the shrimp feels the fish dive for cover, it knows immediately to return to the burrow. This page includes those species we have seen here as well as some others that have been reported from the Marshalls. There may be others.
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