Cleaner fish and shrimp show it pays to be selfless
If you practice scuba diving, you have certainly seen, small fish or shrimp, in the mouth, around the gills, or on the back of large fishes. But what were they doing there?
It was simply an exchange of good processes between two individuals; the cleaner fish simply cleared its congener of its parasites or bacteria to feed while the larger fish just get cleaned. Indeed, under water, there is real cleaning stations where the sea creatures patiently queue to be cleaned up. Because nothing can withstand the skilled cleaning agents, farewell parasites on the skin or in the gills, debris between the teeth and even waste in the wounds … Cleaning shrimps, gobies and labrum are certainly among the most active Cleaning fishes!
Shrimp Lysmata amboinensis
This shrimp is 6 to 7 cm long and lives in tropical waters, cleansing everything, skin, gills and teeth for the greatest pleasure of larger fishes. At the sandstone of your diving, you will be able to see it in the mouth of moray eels, it might even try to come in yours in order to feed on your lunch! She can clean up to 300 customers every day. Efficient cleaning worker indeed.
The neon gobies also work at the cleaning stations. They remove marine parasites from the fins, skin, mouths and mouths of large fish such as groupers. This fish cleaner has become so important for the well-being of its customers that larger fishes have lost their desire to eat them!
In tropical Indo-Pacific waters, this cleaner fish catches parasites of more than 500 different tropical species of larger fishes. The Wrasse is, therefore, very solicited and has up to 2 000 customers every day. What he likes the most is the mucus that protects the scales of fish. But other fishes usually don’t like it and, if he cannot resist the temptation, he will be devoured! Fish farmers have been using their services for some time to rid farmed salmon of their parasites.
Who knows, one day maybe, dentists, for our greatest happiness, will use the cleaning fishes to take care of our teeth!