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Dixson and Hay (2012) documented a remarkable mutualistic relationship between the staghorn coral Acropora nasuta and the Redhead Goby (Paragobidon enchinocephalus), which is 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, in contrast to the other goby species shown to play a similar role (the Broad-barred Goby, Gobiodon histrio) the Redhead Goby does not consume the Turtleweed it removes.

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© Leo Shapiro

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