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  1. #1
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    The AC hitchhiker ID thread (now thumbnailed)

    In response to Morleyz thread, I thought it might be fun for the folks here to post photos of their hitchhikers in a single thread. People have been posting excellent pix of things that rode in with their live rock or sand, including some good ones over the past few days (nudge nudge). I'll start with some that I have collected over the past few years. So please join in and add your photos, even photos of the same species, and maybe this can become a reference for the "what is this on my live rock?" questions.

    There are also mobile polychaetes, like this fireworm:

    Some claim that bristleworms prey on things, but I haven't noticed any evidence of this in the years I have had them in my tanks.
    Last edited by fsn77; 11-26-2007 at 5:28 PM. Reason: thread prune -- removed broken images / related text





  2. #2
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    Then there are the crustaceans

    Lots of shrimp, crabs, stomatopods and whatnot also ride along.

    Like the red-ridged clinging crab (aka red mithrax crab), Mithraculus forceps:

    Generally herbivorous, but not completely trustworthy. I'm keeping mine for the moment.

    Decorator crabs. This one may be a "spongy" decorator crab, reaching 1-2":


    Porcelain crabs are extremely cool. They seem to be completely reef safe, filtering all sorts of material out of the water with their baskets:


    One of the least popular is the mantis shrimp. They can be somewhat destructive, but I think people do more harm than good in their efforts to get rid of them. What has worked very well for me is to locate its hidey hole in the rock, remove the rock, and extract the mantis. I got 5 that way. Here's the first one I caught:


    Much of the time, the snapping sound people hear is from pistol shrimp anyway. My rock is full of small, cave dwelling pistols that are heard more often than seen. This is the best photo I've managed to get so far:
    Last edited by mogurnda; 12-19-2004 at 9:30 AM.



  3. #3
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    A few more

    Some echinoderms:

    Teeny brittle stars, living in the substrate do a good job scavenging:


    Hidden sea cucumbers, extending only their tentacles to feed on small particles:

    The body looks like a brown pickle.

    There are also lots of colonial tunicates. I think these are button tunicates:


    Then there are the macroalgae, like this Botryocladia, aka red grape:


    I'll take a break and let others post. I have a few molluscs around here somewhere.
    Last edited by mogurnda; 12-19-2004 at 9:35 AM.



  4. #4
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    I am going to keep at this until others join in, or tell me to stop. Now for a few molluscs.

    Keyhole limpets are also excellent grazers, but their tastes can extend to sponges, tunicates and occasionally soft corals.
    Last edited by fsn77; 11-26-2007 at 5:29 PM. Reason: thread prune -- removed broken images / related text



  5. #5
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    Be careful, or I may get out of control and sticky threads like this.

    Anyway, I have found a few more in the archive.
    Here are some tiny red serpulid (calcareous) worms, maybe 1/4" across, that seem to do well feeding off whatever is in the water column, with something I call a "marshmallow sponge" in the background.


    It took me a long time to notice these hydroids. It wasn't an easy shot to get, so they aren't all that clear. They are supposed to sting their neighbors, but haven't spread much:


    That's about all I have, I think. May be time to clean the glass and shoot a few tunicates, sponges and urchins. Some nice ones came in with the last batch of rock.
    Last edited by mogurnda; 12-19-2004 at 9:39 AM.



  6. #6
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    Red Brittle Star. First noticed when he was about 4 inches, leg tip to leg tip. Now about 12 inches. Detrivore--staked out this rock and has been pretty close to it for about 6 months now. Quite a shock to discoved--picked up a rock, felt something prickly wriggling on the bottom--almost dropped it!
    Last edited by mogurnda; 12-19-2004 at 9:40 AM.



  7. #7
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    Terebellid, or spaghetti worms, are some of the weirdest. These guys are living in a mass near some mushrooms:
    Last edited by fsn77; 11-26-2007 at 5:43 PM. Reason: thread prune -- removed broken images / related text



  8. #8
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    Here's one that puzzles a lot of people. It's obviously a brittle star, but I have only seen its body twice. The only times I have seen this guy's body are when I have removed the rock.

    Usually, all you see is one or two snaky arms coming out from under a rock, and so people often mistake them for worms.
    Last edited by fsn77; 11-26-2007 at 5:44 PM. Reason: thread prune -- removed broken image



  9. #9
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    OK, I finally figured out how to attach this pic! This is a critter on my live rock...probably about 5 mm in diameter...sorry about the fuzzy pic, the camera didn't have a macro lens. The thing seems to have a couple of "pseudopods" coming out of the middle of it. The pseudopods move, and one may be a tube-like structure....could this be a sponge, or a bivalve?

    Any ideas?

    Thanks!
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  10. #10
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    Can you post a larger photo? It's a little hard to see. If you have trouble uploading, PM me and I'll try to help.



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