Image: Yellow Shrimpgoby, Cryptocentrus cinctus
A Yellow Shrimpgoby at a depth of 6 m, Restorf Island reef, Kimbe Bay, New Britain, Papua New Guinea, October 2008.
- Erik Schlögl
- © Erik Schlögl
The mutualistic relationship between prawngobies (also known as shrimpgobies) and alpheid shrimps that live together in the same burrow, has been known for many years.
The shrimp has poor eyesight. It builds and maintains the burrow while the keen-eyed goby serves as a sentry at the burrow entrance. The shrimp spends much of the daylight hours "bulldozing" sand or rubble from the burrow. Each time it emerges from the burrow entrance, it rests one of its antennae on the body of the goby. If the goby detects danger the posterior portion of its body quivers to alert the shrimp. The goby may also back into the burrow and block the shrimp's exit. If the threat escalates, the goby will dart straight into the burrow.
Fifteen genera of gobies contain species that share burrows with alpheid shrimps. These include the genera Amblyeleotris, Cryptocentrus, Ctenogobiops, Lotila, Psilogobius, Stonogobiops and Vanderhorstia.