The decorator crab and Sea Sponge- Commensalism
It's a decorator crab, bearing a costume of sponges and algae that fooled Mutualism is a voluntary relationship between organisms in which. Graceful Decorator Crab with snippets of sponge attached to his/her carapace ( Hooded Nudibranchs in Hoping this adds to the wonder, connection and respect for our marine neighbours. . Trust me, you are going to love the video below!. Species Discovery of Deep-Water Corals and Sponges in U.S. Waters ( ) . 39 ecological relationships within coral the Ocean Exploration Trust's E/V Nautilus, also Aphrocallistes vastus with a juvenile golden king crab (Lithodes aequispina) in pre‐molt have been observed decorating the ceilings of.
The eyes and antennae are short for this crab. A typical sponge decorator crab can attach fragments of sponges to their body and some reports show even attachment of sea anemones along with sponges. While decorator crabs move on top of a sponge colony, they camouflage perfectly and are totally concealed from predators.
Sponges, Phylum Porifera, Part 10
Front view where eyes and antennae can be seen Another important species of sponge decorator crab is Hyastenus elatus. This variety shows worldwide distribution but its diversity is more in the Indo-Pacific region. For Composcia sp, the pincers or the claw is the only place devoid of any sponge attached! The presence of decorator crabs is often unnoticed during the day time because they prefer to hide in crevices or holes in coral reefs. However, the species is very active during the night and towards dawn and dusk when illumination is less.
Decorator crabs are carnivorous, feeding on a wide diversity of organic matter and marine fauna. They hunt down their invertebrate prey during the night time. The attachments found on decorator crabs play a dual role. Before investing your hard earned cash in a specimen, you must study up! Query your dealer and observe the proposed sponge purchase carefully for the following.
The decorator crab and Sea Sponge- Commensalism
Sponges are not simple, live and let live organisms. Many species can pollute closed systems, some smell bad, some can sting people very painfully. At right is a boring sponge species in the Red Sea eating a coral. Is there sufficient substrate attached to the sponge? It may be doomed if it was removed without it.
There are some species that dwell in sand or mud, but most are attached to hard materials that should be collected and shipped with them.
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Image at right illustrates how intimately sponges can be imbedded into part of the substrate. Does the specimen smell fresh There are some naturally "stinker" sponges I'd avoid these outright Has the specimen been exposed to the air? It should not be! Air is easily tapped inside the many channels inside the animal, ostensibly killing off those parts. Sponges should never be lifted out of the water! Impugned sponges "close up" their exits.
Purchase sponges with little or no "dead" areas, grey or whitish masses. Living sponges are relatively firm, well consistently colored, and do not "smell bad". Stinky, limp and blotchy-colored ones are probably done for. Buy from a reputable dealer, who knows what sponges are and is willing to "cure" them for a week or more for you in order to assure their vitality and acclimate them. If you purchase "live-rock" for a reef system, you may well be purchasing a considerable amount of live sponge material "free".
If some of your sponges start growing, encourage them by placement in a sump, refugium out of the light if they're non-photosynthatesaway from predators. Sponge growth is generally a sign of a viable, healthy system and in turn, Sponges help to keep the biological balance.
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Most sponges offered in the trade have broad environmental tolerance, nevertheless a few broad conditions apply: Your chances of keeping live Sponges are much enhanced by placing them only in well-established reef systems; among other reasons to assure the organic material and bacterial populations to nourish them.
Tied in with this idea is not to be over-zealous regarding absolutely "pure" system water quality. Placement is very important. Sponges engage in "chemical warfare" as celebrated as the Soft Corals. They should be put out of harms way of all stony corals and provided with growing room around them. Encrusting forms must be provided with a "break" in their substrate to stop them from spreading.
Maintenance of sponges is pretty simple. They do need to be "vacuumed" or "blown" clean of detritus, gravel and "gunk" periodically. Adequate light and feeding are the most important factors in success, once a healthy specimen has been secured.
Some reef-building species e. The majority of species offered exist in low light habitats and should be accommodated likewise.
If algae are growing on your sponges, something is wrong: Greenish specimens may be harboring symbiotic algae zooxanthellae requiring more light. Non-hermatypic species should be placed in low light, and especially out of the light should filamentous or encrusting algae appear on them.
A strong current is appreciated, from power head sfilters, air-lifts Pay particular attention that any matter not stay on your sponges surfaces.
If circulation doesn't wash off sand, food, what-have-you, gently siphon this material off or blast it with a handy powerhead. Many opportunistic omnivores will chomp on your sponges. The Dwarf Angel genus Centropyge generally are not too bad, but the larger pomacanthids make up a considerable part of their diet in sponges in the wild.