The Most Patient Shrimp in the World

Most of the time, my seahorses eat at regular places in the tank. The large male (Cygnus) and the female (Ceti) eat near the top of the tank, while the little male (Ghillie) eats alone near his favorite hitch at the bottom of the reef.

Last night, however, Ceti noticed me feeding Ghillie and decided to share his dinner instead of swimming up for her own. She quickly discovered there wasn’t enough room for two on Ghillie’s coral hitch, so she snaked her tail around the closest object – in this case, a cleaner shrimp.

I ran for my camera, though I suspected the shrimp would have shaken off his seahorse muffler and fled before I managed to snap a picture.

To my surprise, the shrimp allowed Ceti to use him as a hitching post for almost five full minutes before he finally had enough and jumped away. Ceti didn’t seem concerned. She looped her tail around a nearby coral and returned to her feast.

I’m sure both shrimp and seahorse realized what was going on. Ceti knew she’d wrapped a shrimp, and the shrimp apparently understood the seahorse meant no harm. He’d snagged some dinner of his own and seemed content to act the part of temporary hitching post.

Still, it’s a startling show of patience from a shrimp – a creature known for wariness even in familiar circumstances – and an interesting image for me to share!

Have you ever seen animals show unusual patience? Why do you think this shrimp decided to cooperate? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!