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Symbiosis between Moray Eels and Cleaner Shrimp

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by Jake Blankenship on 24 May 2011

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Transcript of Symbiosis between Moray Eels and Cleaner Shrimp

Symbiosis Between Moray Eels and Cleaner Shrimp By Jake Blankenship
May 23, 2011
Biology Honors/ Potter http://series-of-articles.com/sfx/Nature%20Ambiences/river_deep_fast2.wav Symbiosis is defined as interactions between two or more species of animal.
There are 3 types:
Mutualism: when both species benefit from the interactions.
Commensalism: when one species benefits and one remains neutral.
Parasitism: when one species benefits and the other is harmed. Cleaner Shrimps and Moray Eels have a mutualistic relationship.
The cleaner shrimp clean parasites, insects, algaes, etc. off of the eels, making them more healthy – in return, the shrimp get a free meal. Cleaner shrimp also clean other species of fish like groupers and pufferfish.
Eels will also get cleaned by other types of fish like gobies and wrasses. The cleaner shrimp have brightly colored exoskeletons to let their customers know that they are not normal shrimp, because they would otherwise be eaten.
The cleaners will crawl all over the fish they are cleaning – on the skin, face, gills,and even in the mouth and throat. There are three families of cleaner shrimp:
Palaemonidae includes the two subfamilies Palaemoninae and Pontoniinae.
Palaemoninae is more ecologically diverse, but has less differentiation between species.
Pontiniinae is less ecologically diverse, inhabiting mainly coral reefs, but has more diverse species. These shrimp normally associate with cnidarians and sponges. Family Hippolytidae has the most well-known shrimp species, Lysmata amboinensis, which is popular for use as pest due to its friendliness
L. amboinensis is one of the most social of the cleaner shrimp, as other species will tend to eat each other if housed together. Family Stenopodidae is a less well-known family and includes the species Stenopus hispidus, or Barber-Pole Shrimp. Many cleaner shrimp pairs will set up “cleaning stations” on coral or rocks where fish will stop to get cleaned. These stations are normally made of mates or groups of them.
Cleaner shrimp can grow anywhere from less than an inch to more than ten inches. Moray eels are in the eel family Muraenidae.
They can range from 4.5 inches at Snyder's Moray to more than 13 feet at the Slender Giant Moray, although the Giant Moray is the largest in mass at 9.8 feet and 79 pounds. Morays are a cosmopolitan species, which means they can be found almost worldwide, although they are almost exclusively marine, with a few freshwater species. An interesting part of their anatomy is the set of pharyngeal jaws in their throat, which the use to latch onto prey and pull it to the back of their throat to swallow.
They need these jaws because they lack the ability to create a vacuum with their heads, which is what other species of fish do to swallow. Reproduction begins in summer when the water is warmest and is signalled by a wide opening of the mouth.
The eggs are externally fertilized and the hatched larvae live near the surface until they are old enough to defend themselves Morays are born three different ways:
Gonochoristic: either male or female.
Simultaneous Hermaphroditic: both male and female, and they can mate with either.
Protogynous Hermaphroditic: born female, and can change to male if there is a shortage of them. Moray Eels Symbiosis Cleaner Shrimp Bibliography

De Grave, Sammy. "A classification of living and fossil genera of decapod crustaceans." Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 21 (2009): 1-109. Print.
Fenner, Bob. "Cleaner Shrimp." Wetwebmedia, Aquarium, Pond, Marine and Freshwater Fish, reef tanks, and Aquatics Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2011. <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/cleaner.htm>.
"Shedd Aquarium." Shedd Aquarium - Chicago | Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2011. <http://sea.sheddaquarium.org/sea/fact_sheets.asp?id=84>
"Shedd Aquarium." Shedd Aquarium - Chicago | Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2011. <http://sea.sheddaquarium.org/sea/fact_sheets.asp?id=84>
"Skunk Cleaner Shrimp - Lysmata amboinensis." Age of Aquariums - Tropical Fish. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2011. <http://www.aquahobby.com/marine/e_amboinensis.php> Lysmata amoinensis, the Skunk Cleaner Shrimp. Stenopus hispidus, the Barber-Pole Shrimp. Snyder's Moray, Anarchias leucurus. The Slender Giant Moray, Strophidon sathete. The Giant Moray, Gymnothorax javanicus.
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