Monday, April 16, 2007

Slender-lined Shrimp-goby

I’ve little knowledge on gobies before I started my current project. A year has passed. Through readings, consultations and trials and errors, I’ve gained much understanding of their ecology. Some of the most colourful gobies are the shrimp-gobies and their symbiotic relationship with the shrimps is most fascinating.

The Slender-lined Shrimp-goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus) is usually found on shallow reefs. They share a burrow with alpheid shrimps. The communication between goby and shrimp is ingenious. As the goby sits at the burrow entrance as a ‘guard’, the shrimp will touch the goby with its antennae. At the first sign of danger, the goby will flick its tail and both goby and shrimp will retreat into the burrow for safety. Researchers have shown that in the absence of shrimps, the gobies will not give a warning signal.

Ethology is an aspect in biological science that I find most interesting. Animals have many inventive ways to communicate both intraspecifically as well as interspecifically. Gaining insights into their behaviour and its meaning give me a sense of challenge. And the intimate knowledge gained reinforced my understanding of nature’s intricate connections at all levels. I hope to do some proper animal behaviour research in the future.

Picture taken at: Terumbu Pempang Laut, July 2006.


Larson, H. K. & K. K. P. Lim, 2005. A Guide to Gobies of Singapore, Singapore Science Centre, Singapore.

Preston, J. L., 1978. ‘Communication systems and social interactions in a goby-shrimp symbiosis’, Animal Behaviour, vol. 26 (3), pp. 791-802.

No comments: