Dixson and Hay (2012) documented a remarkable mutualistic relationship between the staghorn coral Acropora nasuta and two goby fishes, Gobidon histrio and Paragobidon enchinocephalus, which are recruited by the coral to keep it free of Turtleweed (Chlorodesmis fastigiata). Within minutes of Turtleweed (or even a chemical extract from the Turtleweed) contacting the coral, the coral releases an odor that recruits gobies to trim the Turtleweed and dramatically reduce coral damage that would otherwise occur. Interestingly, only one of the two goby species, G. histrio, actually consumes the Turtleweed it removes. This goby normally produces toxic skin secretions that repel predators and contact with the Turtleweed appears to increase their toxicity.
- Dixson, D.L. and M.E. Hay. 2012. Corals chemically cue mutualistic fishes to remove competing seaweeds. Science 338: 804-807.
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