It has been a while, but I am back…and with a treat!
On this picture we see a beautiful Hypselodoris tryoni (formerly known as Risbecia tryoni) nudibranch having dinner.
Right beside its host’s head is an emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) enjoying the same buffet.
This is one of the most wonderful relationships to be found in nature: a pure example of mutualism.
While the shrimp, living on the nudibranch, crawls all over it from head to tail, it controls parasite infestations.
The shrimp -on the other hand- saves energy, covering a larger distance then it would on its own, searching for food.
If you take a careful look you notice that the purple colour of the shrimp’s legs, joints and rostrum edge exactly matches the colour of the nudi’s mantle edge. This results in an improved camouflage for the hitchhiker that will be better protected from potential predators.
A match made in heaven…. traveling along…. side by side!