Post your hitchhiker pics here!

Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by tuberider, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. flugsamom

    flugsamom Guest

    I don't know... those two blue eyes are at the end of antenae looking things and they move individually when he peeks out of the hole. I am going to have to get a video of it.
  2. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Indicative of a mantis :)
  3. LeslieH

    LeslieH Guest

    Wow, thanks for all the pics & comments, that's great! But (could you sense the "but" coming?) I have to cancel due to a family member's health problems. I was hoping that I could still fly up for the day which would be a really welcome break but I just can't leave. Hopefully we can reschedule for another time. Anyway, I figured I could at least comment on your pics here. Please keep in mind that my knowledge comes from field work, books, & reef boards. I don't keep tanks so any comments on reef-keeping are gleaned from the experience of others (like dealing with Montipora nudis).

    Post #6 - Ibn's fireworm. This falls in to the Eurythoe complanata complex. The term complex means a group of species that look so much alike they're often mis-identified under a single name. In some cases it's impossible to separate them without genetic analysis, and since they usually have the same feeding mode trying to accurately identify them isn't necessary for a general discussion. This animal is a detritivore & scavenger. It is not a predator & won't go after healthy living animals. Normally it will eat detritus & some algae, if it's lucky enough to find a dead animal it will happily slurp away. Sometimes reefers will see them eating corals or other valued livestock. That means that the coral - which may have looked healthy really wasn't or was attacked by a true predator. Eurythoe has an excellent sensory system that allows it to scent necrotic or decaying tissue. It would have been attracted to the sick or lacerated tissue on the coral & true to it's nature start eating. It would be very interesting to see if Eurythoe acts like the maggots used by doctors to clean necrotic tissue due to gangrene or infected wounds. Once they've eaten all the necrotic flesh they stop & drop off (at least that's what I've read).

    Post #7 - Ibn's Montipora-eating nudi. A lot of these predators are undescribed, especially these small cryptic ones. They are very difficult to eradicate. Nudibranchs are all hermaphrodites - simulataneous male & female. They don't do much in life except hunt for food, eat, and mate. When 2 individuals meet they pair up right side to right side so the genital openings are lined up, insert their penises, and exchange sperm. Both will then lay eggs. Some of them can retain viable sperm for quite a while after mating so a single one newly introduced into your aquarium can lay fertile eggs. It doesn't take long for juveniles to mature enough to mate. (I'm not giving specific times because it varies for each species & because it's unknown for most species) Life span is usually less than 1 year. These particular predators are tiny & often go undetected. The eggs ribbons are coiled & often laid in crevices or between polyps at the base of the colony so they're even harder to detect. Some reefers have reported eventual success stories but it requires taking the colony out of the main tank, constant observation, dipping, manual removal, for several weeks or even months. As the nudis may wander off the colony in search of food taking the infected colony out doesn't guarantee that the tank is free of them. They will starve to death without their specific food so if the infected colony is eventually free of them it can go back into the main tank if there aren't other, possibly infected Montipora in there.

    Post #9 - JAR's hitchhiker. A female Homo sapiens, making it's way from one habitat/food source to another. Usually not found in reef tanks but still coveted by most male reefers. Treat carefully & above all wear a glove if direct contact is made as it may carry unknown parasites & diseases.

    Post #11 - Gomer's hair worm -- Family Cirratulidae, likely to be in one of 3 genera - Cirratulus, Cirriformia, or Timarete. The common name spagetti worm has been applied to polychaete worms in this family & the family Terebellidae. Ron Shimek started called cirratulids hair worms. While I prefer scientific names (so much more accurate) I agree with Ron in having separate names for the 2 families. Terebellids are the mop-heads. All the feeding tentacles & branchiae (= gills) are located at the head. In cirratulids the feeding tentacles number 1-many pairs & are at the head end while the branchiae occur along the length of the body. Terebellids make real tubes for themselves. Cirratulids make pseudo-tubes - they use mucus & their branchiae to hold together loose aggregations of mucus & sand. Members of both families are detritivores, harmless, & useful members of the CUC.

    Post #15 - Miles405 ?? - Either a sponge or a tunicate. I can't really tell from the photo. Touch it gently with a probe or a gloved finger. If the big opening closes quickly it's a tunicate. If it doesn't seem to close or closure is very slow it's a sponge. Both are filter feeders. The thing to remember about these groups is that like other sessile invertebrates they protect themselves against predator by producing spines and/or chemicals. Some are very toxic & will release those toxins if stressed or dying. Some are benign. I don't think there's much info on the reef boards about which belong in each category but most of the ones at LFS are probably benign.

    Post #17 - Pixelpixi's Elysia ornata. Definitely an Elysia although I'm not sure about the species and it is an herbivore. Bill Rudman's Sea Slug Forum is an excellent - actually the best - source of information on all things sluggish. Once the food is used up it will die if it doesn't reach the end of it's limited life span first.

    Post #20 - Mr. Ugly's rock. The dominant HHs are the yellowish ascidians (I think - again, try the touch test), white sponge, and vermetid snails. The vermetids are usually mistaken for polychaete tubeworms but they're snails that are too lazy to coil nicely like the rest of the gastropod community. They feed by producing mucus strings which collect floating particles, swallowing the nets back up, & digesting the particles. The large species grow slowly while small species - like the one here - reproduce rapidly. Essentially harmless, some reefers report that the nets bother their corals & keep them from opening fully. If you scrape or crush them eggs & sperm will be released to create the next generation so either take the rock out of your tank before manual removal or glue the openings shut.
  4. LeslieH

    LeslieH Guest

    Post #23 - xinumaster's polychaete - Mollusc eater, family Oenonidae, most likely genus Oenone, most likely species Oenone fulgida. These are nearly indestructible so the best option is to catch it if you don't want it. I prefer polys to molluscs so I'd buy steamer clams & feed it. The mollusc eating oenonids produce massive amounts of mucus which serves a variety of purposes. It is obnoxious & deters predators, it facilitates movement, and it assists in capturing prey. When the worm encounters a mollusc it produces 2 types of toxins. One paralyzes the prey & causes the prey to relax it's muscles while the other contains digestive enzymes that start to break down the prey's flesh. This prevents the clam or snail from closing up, loosens it's grip on it's shell, & enables the worm to easily pull the animal out of it's shell. If the worm attacks a giant clam it may move into a gap between the mantle & the shell & bite off chunks of flesh as the meat liquifies. If there are no molluscs in a tank the worm can survive on detritus & other things.

    Post #27 - CookieJar
    1- Green algae in the genus Neomeris. There are several species. It is partially calcified - that's the white portion. I think they're beautiful but many reefers consider them a pest if they start to spread.
    2- Cnidarian of some sort? Not something I can identify
    3 - not enough detail, I'm sorry. Not sure if it's a cnidarian or a star.
    4- Polychaete. If there are only 2 tentacles it's either a spionid or a chaetopterid. Multiple tentacles mean it's a terebellid. All are detritus feeders.

    Post #28 - Sfork's polychaete - Regretfully, I have to say that to a reefer it's a foe. Family Syllidae, probably genus Syllis. There are a couple of species which feed on Xenia, leathers, & other soft corals. While a few reefers have posted pictures of these there hasn't been any discussion on how to get rid of them, life history, etc. Pick them off as soon as you see them.

    (Nurses are kicking me out. I'll get back to this soon)
  5. LeslieH

    LeslieH Guest

    Post #29 - 99sf's sponge -- Most of these small cryptic sponges are harmless. They rely on being hidden below or between rocks to keep away from predators rather than chemical defenses.

    Post #30 - Ibn's Pod. Nice! There are thousands of these in every feeding niche - predators, herbivores, omnivores, scavengers, detritivores, suspension feeders, etc. A couple species even specialize in eating the innards of pelagic tunicates then living in the now empty interior. There are males & females. The female carries the eggs in the marsupium (a structure formed by the thin paddle-like flaps you can see in mid-body) until they hatch into mini-versions of the parents.

    Post #32 - Ibn's again - A flatworm but probably not a polyclad. The name polyclad refers to the many (= poly, Latin) branches (= clade, Greek) of the digestive tract. We can clearly see through the body to tell that the central gut is linear & simple. Nearly all flatworms are predators. These little ones often prey on copepods & other organisms in a similar size range. The ones to look out for are the dreaded AEFW and the big brown & white reticulated mollusc eaters.

    Post #33 - Matthew's comment about an orange & red worm. Polychaetes have hemoglobin. when the blood is oxygenated it's bright red, greenish when it's not. Many of them have thin, translucent skin so you can see the blood pulsing through the vessels. Reefers use the term "bristle worm" for animals I would call fireworms. All polychaetes are bristle worms, in fact, that's what the name means: poly is Latin for many & chaete is Latin for bristle or hair. Most polys do not have bristles as conspicuous as a fireworm's. Even earthworms - which are in the phylum Annelida along with polychaetes & leeches - have a couple of bristles on each segment.

    Post #34 - newhobby's worm - At first I was puzzled until I saw the stretched out feeding tentacles. This is a juvenile terebellid or spagetti worm.

    Post #36 - rtom's brittle star - Brittle stars & serpent stars are two types of ophiuroids, relatives of sea stars, sand dollars, urchins, & sea cucumbers. The main difference between the two types is the extent of spination along the arms. The small ones are harmless scavengers, detritivores, suspension feeders, & predators on animals smaller than themselves. A few of the big serpents are very active predators that will take down small fish.

    Post #37 - rtom's alpheid - Very cool - I adore pistol shrimp & their relatives. By the look of it it's not a goby-associate. This is a solitary species that prefers to live among rocks. Those big claws are used for defense, stunning prey, and for signalling to other alpheids. Incidentally, the family Alpheidae is one of the biggest in all of Crustacea with about 600 species & more being described all the time. Most of the species don't have large snapping claws.

    Post #38 - flugamom's mantis -- Googlie eyed critter is as good a description as any for mantis shrimp. They are incredibly amazing animals. Like alpheids they can produce loud clicks through rapid claw moments that can stun their prey. What actually happens is that the impact of one claw part against another creates a bubble of air which implodes - that creates both the noise & the shock wave. Their eyes have up to 16 distinct zones which can perceive much more of the color spectrum that we can. Neat, neat animals.

    That's about it. Thanks to everyone - especially Ibn - for posting so many interesting pics. Hopefully I'll get to meet you all another time.
  6. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    We will miss you!
    Thanks for the helpful information and advise.
    I'll be careful with those Homo sapiens from now on. I had no idea! :bigsmile:
  7. Sfork

    Sfork Guest

    Thanks for the advice! Best wishes to your family member.

    I have another hitchhiker that I would love ID'ed it's flat and forked at the end, like the tongue of a snake, but it extends about 6 inches at night, it's green and when i shine a light at it it retracts into the underside of a rock. it extends and sticks regardless of the flow. I'll try to get a photo of it soon.
  8. bookfish

    bookfish Guest

  9. xinumaster

    xinumaster Guest

    Wowww! Great information there. Thanks a lot. No wonder I keep on losing a clam.
  10. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Jim the first one is a marco algae. I'll find the ID. Def not a sponge :D
  11. LeslieH

    LeslieH Guest

    Another time I hope.

    Oh yeah, you really gotta watch out for those sapiens, they're much more treacherous & parasite-ridden than any shark! ;)

    Sfork -- That's the proboscis of an echiuroid worm in the family Bonellidae. The plump, juicy body is tucked away in a burrow or rock crevice to stay safe while the proboscis ventures out to get food. Millions of tiny hairs called cilia carpet the proboscis. They capture & move food particles back to the mouth. In one well-studied species, Bonellia viridis, the male is just a fraction of the female in size. Viridis produces pelagic larvae. When a larva settles on the bottom it becomes a female. If a larva lands on a female however, it becomes male, crawls into her body through the mouth & makes itself at home in her uterus. There after it enjoys the life of a total couch potato, supplying sperm in return for food & shelter.
  12. Sfork

    Sfork Guest

    wow thanks, this rock I got from OT is full if hitchhikers. Most didn't make it past the cycle, but that's one interesting lifecycle!
  13. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Thanks so much for the info!

    I was worried about that Eurythoe complanata complex worm, but from the sounds of things, it's what I want. I saw a smaller one creeping out not too long ago (either the same worm regenerated or a smaller one) so that's one less thing to be worried about.

    I'll snap some more pics from some of the muck in the overflow box when I have a chance. I trawled up a red earthworm looking one last time but put it back in since I was gonna bring it to the presentation.
  14. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    I think this was eating chalice. Is that possible?
    Are you there Leslie?
  15. sfboarders

    sfboarders Guest

    Meet "torch" the fireworm. He's about 4" - 5" long. He usually sleeps during the day but got hungry and decided to come out and try some PE Mysis. :) His other buddy "crest" the bristle worm looks to be almost 12" long. Couldn't get him though. :)




  16. eldiablosrt8

    eldiablosrt8 Sponsor

    i have something i can get a pic of cuz its behind a rock in my BC and its in the curved part of glass as well but it is red and brown are and can extend to about 5-6" out of the rock so i wonder????
  17. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    peanut worm? Look like a brown elephant trunk searching around out of a rock?
  18. eldiablosrt8

    eldiablosrt8 Sponsor

  19. sfboarders

    sfboarders Guest

    I usually look here for hitchhiker ID.
  20. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Good ol Chuck :)

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