Jan 202013
 

One of my favorite activities to observe and photograph underwater is fish cleaning behavior.  It’s a process called mutualism, since it is mutually beneficial for both species involved.

Certain species are well-known for their job as cleaners, most notably Wrasses, Gobies and Cleaner Shrimp.

What do fish need to be cleaned?  Doesn’t the water naturally cleanse the fish?  Not necessarily.  The cleaner fish addresses issues such as wounds, mucous, dead skin and parasites.  It benefits by absorbing nutrients from this process.

Here is a gallery of my favorite cleaning behavior shots.

Fish Cleaning Behavior


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Parrot Fish Cleaning - Maldives
Parrot Fish Cleaning - Maldives

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Parrot Fish Cleaning - Maldives
Parrot Fish Cleaning - Maldives

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Butterfly Fish Cleaning - Maldives
Butterfly Fish Cleaning - Maldives

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Moray Eel Cleaning - Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler
Moray Eel Cleaning - Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

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Triggerfish Cleaning - Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler
Triggerfish Cleaning - Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

For more information, here is an excellent article about cleaning behavior on the Great Barrier reef by Dr. Alexandra Grutter.

Cleaner Fish do Clean!

 

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