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Alpheus lottini is an Indo-West Pacific and eastern Pacific snapping shrimp that belongs to the Sulcatus species group within the genus Synalpheus (Kim and Abele 1988). This species is an obligate symbiont of coral, and lives in pairs in the branches of pocilloporid corals, where it feeds on mucus produced by the coral and on organic particles trapped within this mucus (Patton, 1974). Alpheus lottini actively defends its host coral from attacks of Acanthaster plancii, the corallivorous"crown-of-thorns" seastar, by snapping on the star's arms with its large chela and pinching its tube feet with the small chela (Glynn 1976). When entering host corals already occupied by trapeziid crabs, A. lottini uses a series of "appeasement" patterns, evidently borrowed from the crab's behavioral repetoire, before the crab allows the shrimp to co-occupy a coral colony (Vannini 1985). For more details, see Knowlton et al. (2008):


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© Hultgren, Kristin

Source: Alpheidae - Snapping Shrimp

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