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Associations between the pink wormfish, Microdesmus longipinnis (Weymouth), and the ghost shrimp, Lepidophthalmus louisianensis (Schmitt), in artificial burrows


Microdesmus longipinnis (Weymouth) is a small estuarine teleost fish that is known to feed on the eggs of the callianassid shrimp, Lepidophthalmus louisianensis (Schmitt). In the course of collecting M. longipinnis for physiological studies we noticed that there seemed to be a higher preference towards burrows of non-gravid and male shrimp than one would expect if the driving force behind this relationship was exclusively egg predation. In an attempt to expand upon the understanding of the relationship between these two animals we tested the hypothesis that the fish are not seeking out burrows based solely on the presence of eggs but rather the presence of the shrimp. Laboratory experiments demonstrated that M. longipinnis positively associated with male L. louisianensis when compared to empty burrows supporting the idea of a more complex relationship that has previously been reported in the literature. Further study is needed to fully determine the nature of the relationship between M. longipinnis and L. louisianensis.

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Correspondence to Andrew M. Savage.

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Savage, A.M., Felgenhauer, B.E. Associations between the pink wormfish, Microdesmus longipinnis (Weymouth), and the ghost shrimp, Lepidophthalmus louisianensis (Schmitt), in artificial burrows. Environ Biol Fish 99, 903–906 (2016).

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