Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Odd Couple at Headwaters Science Center

In the lower left corner of the 210 gallon living coral reef at HSC you can observe a remarkable life story about two quite different animals that have evolved a unique symbiotic partnership.

A small fish, called Watchman Yellow Goby, shares a den in the sand with a small invertebrate called a Pistol Shrimp. They share the living space and food they capture. The shrimp is mostly blind and serves as the construction engineer, maintaining the den and constantly rearranging small pebbles to protect the den from predators. The goby is the guard, warning of any approaching danger with a flick of the tail. Both can disappear into their hole in a flash if danger approaches.

You can watch it all happen in real time. But you must be patient and quiet, any sudden movement and the alarm will be sounded by the goby.

We are trying to name the odd couple. Suggested names so far: Symbi and Osis, Darwin and Wallace, and Oscar and Felix. Any more suggestions?