Clean­ing

Asian Diver (English) - - Feature -

The res­i­dents of the muck also some­times need to get a bath and the ocean has some re­ally clever ways to keep fish clean of par­a­sites and dead scales: They en­list the help of other muck dwellers. Cleaner wrasses and shrimps step up to the task of keep­ing their neigh­bours clean, some­times even climb­ing into the mouth of their oth­er­wise preda­tor for a visit from the den­tist. Clean­ing time is not feed­ing time though and those re­quest­ing spa ser­vices will not eat their prac­ti­tion­ers. I watched a wrasse scurry over a lizard­fish, pick­ing it clean of par­a­sites and the lizard­fish stayed com­pletely still, let­ting the wrasse do its work.

Cleaner wrasses and shrimps step up to the task of keep­ing their neigh­bours clean, some­times even climb­ing into the mouth of their oth­er­wise preda­tor for a visit from the den­tist. ABOVE: Goat­fish be­ing cleaned by cleaner wrassesOP­PO­SITE PAGE TOP: Pipefish hunt­ing fish lar­vaeRIGHT: Har­lequin shrimp ap­pear­ing to be wrestling over a starfish armIM­AGES: Brandi Mueller

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