Cleaning station – Cleaner wrasse

sweetlips getting cleaned

I always enjoy to watch this little fish (Cleaner wrasse – Labroides dimidatus) when they are busy. By the way, What is “Cleaning station”?

Quote from Wiki
A cleaning station is a location where fish, sea turtles, hippos[1] and other aquatic life, freshwater and marine, congregate to be cleaned.

The cleaning process includes the removal of parasites from the animal’s body (both externally and internally), and can be performed by various creatures (including cleaner shrimp and numerous species of cleaner fish, especially wrasses and gobies).

When the animal approaches a cleaning station it will open its mouth wide or position its body in such a way as to signal that it needs cleaning. The cleaner fish will then remove and eat the parasites from the skin, even swimming into the mouth and gills of any fish being cleaned.

Cleaning stations may be associated with coral reefs, located either on top of a coral head or in a slot between two outcroppings. Other cleaning stations may be located under large clumps of floating seaweed or at an accepted point in a river or lagoon.

A number of fish species mimic the appearance and behaviour of cleaners, then tear away scales or flesh when suitably close to the victim.

All images from the recent trip to Dauin, Philippines. Jul/2012.

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