Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tug of war

I just observed an underwater tug of war. I fed Formula Two frozen food tonight and a piece fell on the sand bed right next to my tongue coral. A hermit crab saw it fell and ran to it about as fast as a small hermit crab can run. The crab grabbed it and started pulling it away from the coral. The meal wasn't as easy as the crab thought it would be because the coral was also pulling it. It was holding the piece of food with the tip of a tentacle. The crab pulled and pulled and stretched the coral's tentacle. The coral eventually let go and the crab got its meal. Feeling sorry for the coral I dropped another piece of food right in the center of it. It reacted by holding it with the tips of several tentacles. It retracted the tentacles in the area around the food and moved it to a mouth. The "lips" of the mouth surrounded the food from all sides engulfing it. About five minutes later there was no sign of the food at all. I knew that some corals would eat in addition to getting their nutrients from Zooxanthella but I never knew how it was done. What a cool thing to observe.