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#25 Goby fish and shrimp's special relationship

We’ve all seen and heard about special relationships among humans, but have you ever heard about a special relationship between a fish and a shrimp? The Goby fish and the shrimp share a very interesting relationship.

What is a shrimp?

Shrimp are marine animals that are found on the ocean floors and river beds, all around the world. They are generally small in size. Shrimp are omnivores and feed on plankton and tiny fish as well as algae and other underwater plants. Shrimp adapt easily to the changing water conditions. Since shrimp are small in size, they are an easy prey and are eaten by starfish, crabs, fish, dolphins, whales, sharks, sea birds and even humans!

What are gobies?

Gobies are small carnivorous fish found throughout the world. Like the shrimp, the gobies are bottom dwellers. Some gobies are scaled, while others are scale less. They usually have a rounded tail and some of them are brightly coloured. They have almost frog like heads and a black spot on their front dorsal fin. They are also the largest family of marine fish with around 2,000 species! They can survive in water temperatures of 0 to 30 degree Celsius.

How do shrimp and gobies live together?

The Alphens shrimp dig burrows in the sand. There is usually a pair of shrimp in each burrow, and the pair shares their home with the Goby fish!

Image Courtesy: Nick Hobgood

Both the shrimp and the Goby rest in the burrow during the night and during the day the Goby waits outside the burrow, guarding it from danger. The shrimp, on the other hand, does not feed when the fish is not around. It feeds only when the Goby is guarding their home. While feeding, the shrimp keeps one antenna touching the fish’s tail, so that the fish can flick its tail and warn it of any kind of danger. When the fish flicks its tail, they both jump into the burrow and hide.



Why do you think Shrimp and Gobies live together?

a.     Gobies can dig burrows and shrimp cannot

b.     Shrimp have sharper senses

c.     Gobies cannot dig, while shrimp do not have sharp senses

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The Gobies cannot dig, the shrimp can and they provide the Gobies a home. In return, the Gobies provide shrimp with a warning system, as the shrimps’ senses are not sharp, while the Gobies have very sharp senses.

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