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
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/fish-cleaning-behavior/thumbs/thumbs_fish-cleaning-4.jpg]Parrot Fish Cleaning - Maldives
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/fish-cleaning-behavior/thumbs/thumbs_butterflyfish-cleaning.jpg]Butterfly Fish Cleaning - Maldives
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/fish-cleaning-behavior/thumbs/thumbs_eel-cleaning-maldives-s.jpg]Moray Eel Cleaning - Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler
[img src=http://www.reeftraveler.com/wp-content/flagallery/fish-cleaning-behavior/thumbs/thumbs_triggerfish-cleaning.jpg]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.