Goby and shrimp

Painting of a gobi and a shrimp

Cover Image

On Sunday June 13, 2021 I went to a watercolour workshop led by Rurupoi! She went through a bit of theory before doing a demo for us. I learned new terms for things I was doing haphazardly (I have never formally studied watercolour). This is what drew and painted (in less than, 1.5h?). It was interesting to try to have some shape to the shrimp yet still maintain its camouflaging pattern!

Photo collage of 3 images, showing progressive progress of the goby and shrimp painting---from sketch, then from background to midground to foreground colours/shading.

Photo of a postcard sized painting of a goby and shrimp on a pebbled ground, surrounded by various aquatic flora and fauna.

If I could turn back time I would've made the foreground more vertically asymetrical, and properly account for the fins that a goby actually has (ha!).

The goby is likely a Steinitz' prawn goby, while the shrimp would be from the Alpheus genus (snapping shrimp).

The image is based off a photo I took when I visited Wilhelma (zoological and botanical garden) in Stuttgart. They had a display of many aquarium ecosystems. I already knew about their symbiotic relationship, but I spent extra long time staring at the goby and shrimp and took many photos and videos of them.

From Practical Fishkeeping:

Several pistol or 'snapping' shrimps of the genus Alpheus associate with gobies, primarily in the Indo-Pacific in areas of sand and rubble in relatively shallow water of the coral reef.

The shrimp has notoriously poor eyesight, but is good at constructing and maintaining a burrow. In fact, it may be obsessed with it, constantly shifting rubble and debris from which it is made to keep the entrance clear.

The goby, meanwhile, has particularly good vision, but is less adept at creating burrows which, of course, offer valuable protection on the reef. In an evolutionary masterstroke, both shrimp and goby have evolved an alliance which utilises the strengths of each — or makes each one’s weaknesses less of a hindrance, depending how you look at it.

I have a goby and shrimp-inspired short story for HWA, written purely so that I can draw...more goby and shrimp...but not sure if that will be drawn any time soon, hahahaha.

Today's music post: Isn't this a Lovely Day (cover) by Shirley Crabbe.

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