Obesogammarus obesus, the honey badger scud

I got to tell you about a very special critter that has come to be a favorite of mine recently. As those familiar with the topic will know, some neogobiine fish species lately have been making their “escape from the Ponto-Caspian”, as Matthew Neilson and Carol Stepien put it. Facilitated by intense ship traffic and construction of canals, they are in the process of invading most of (not only) Europe’s waterways. Likewise, the same is happening with other ponto-caspian animal groups, among which especially the gammarids (Amphipoda) are thought to have a noticable impact on autochthonous biocoenosises in other parts of the world. Most of you have probably heard of Dikerogammarus villosus, the infamous “killer shrimp”, that can be quite a predatory little bugger, but all that it can actually be accused of is being highly omnivorous and euryoecious.

Obesogammarus obesus, pair in amplexus

But it hardly is the only gammarid currently on its way west. Members of the genera Echinogammarus, Obesogammarus, Pontogammarus and others have joined it, but while D. villosus is a common sight these days, many of the other species remain cryptic to most people. To pick up from the start, I have a new favorite among these hardly-noticed invaders: Obesogammarus obesus. It has a stocky, robust habitus and seems to spend most of its time burrowed in the substratum under stones, though it isn’t all that shy in the aquarium. But what’s most striking is the way it moves: Unlike most European gammarids, it moves with its back pointing upwards. If it moves, which it doesn’t do a lot, it hardly ever swims; instead, it crawls rather slowly and seemingly thought-through, sniffing here and there, altogether leaving a rather relaxed impression. All this crawling and sniffing, combined with the goldish-white coloration on is back, first made me think of a hamster, but actually it’s much more reminiscent of a badger. So that’s how I came to call it the honey badger scud

4 thoughts on “Obesogammarus obesus, the honey badger scud

  1. Hi Paul, I’m taking you up on your generous offer to ask further questions!

    I’ve also been looking at Rhinogobius Maculafasciatus and Rhinogobius Nantaiensis.
    It has been incredibly difficult to find good information about these species. Do you happen to know if they be suited to a similar set-up as the Rubromaculatus?

    To clarify what I think that is, I have a 75 Liter long tank with strong water flow and a sandy bottom with plenty of flat rocks. I will keep the tank cool, and will feed a variety of live foods as well as offer algae-covered rocks to see if they’re interested.

    If those species are suited to this setup, would I be able to fit a pair or trio of each species in that size tank?

    I really appreciate your advice, as these are quite costly to acquire here in the U.S. and there just isn’t a lot of information out there!

    Thank you!

  2. Cheers Aaron, it’s not a bad idea to provide them with some current, as they originate from small headwater streams. Also, don’t keep them too warm. Temperatures around 20 degrees celsius are more than sufficient. Keep me updated if you got any further questions!

  3. Hi, I am about to acquire a pair of Rhinogobius Rubromaculatus, and you seem to be an expert on them. Can you tell me if they like a lot of water flow in their tank like many Rhinogobius?
    Thank you!

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