Dec 19, 2012

Cleaner Wrasse

Most animals in water can't groom themselves the way cats, monkeys, and many other land animals do. They depend on other creatures to do it for them. The cleaner wrasse is a specialist in this job. These small fish are brightly colored, which makes them easy to spot. They set up cleaning stations in the ocean and attract clients with a sort of dance, swimming head down and waving their bodies from side to side. Larger fish line up at the cleaner wrasse station, each waiting for its turn to be cleaned. The cleaners ' clients include many fish that are predators-but the cleaners themselves are rarely eaten. As the larger fish wait calmly, the little cleaners swim right into their mouths and gill cavities to clear away parasites, fungi, and debris, getting a free meal in the process. (Grolier Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia)