Heal­ing hands of cleaner shrimps

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - News -

In the first sci­en­tific study of its kind, sci­en­tists have proved in lab­o­ra­tory con­di­tions that Cleaner shrimp help speed the heal­ing process in in­jured fish.

The re­searchers stud­ied the be­hav­iour and in­ter­ac­tions of Skunk cleaner shrimp (Lys­mata am­boinen­sis) and Lyre-tail An­thias (Pseu­dan­thias squamip­in­nis) to see whether or not the shrimps’ clean­ing be­hav­iour im­proved heal­ing, and also to see whether the shrimp ‘cheat’ and feed on their hosts’ mu­cus or ag­gra­vate the in­jury fur­ther.

Us­ing high def­i­ni­tion cam­eras, the team ob­served the in­ter­ac­tions of shrimp with 126 in­jured fish. They noted that for the first 24 hours the fish reg­u­lated the amount of clean­ing to the in­jured area. This cor­re­sponds with pre­vi­ous ev­i­dence that this early pe­riod is vi­tal for a process called ‘re-ep­ithe­lial­i­sa­tion’, whereby the open wound is cov­ered rapidly by a layer of cells. Af­ter this time, the fish al­lowed the shrimp to clean where it liked, and the shrimps’ ac­tions helped re­duce in­flam­ma­tion and red­ness, which is thought to help pre­vent in­fec­tion by se­condary pathogens like viruses and bac­te­ria. It’s hoped the shrimp may be able to be em­ployed as a green al­ter­na­tive to chem­i­cal treat­ments for clean­ing wounds and re­mov­ing par­a­sites on farmed fish.

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