Get To Know The Ocean – The Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus

Photo by Brian Gratwicke

I am the Cleaner Wrasse, also known as the Labroides dimidiatus, cleanser of other fish to help them with their health such as preventing diseases, parasites, and any other tissue infections. I am most frequently found in coral reefs and in cleaning stations such as in the gills of other fish. Since I am very beneficial to my habitat and have a mutual connection with other fish and with commonly known predators, I’m not seen as prey.

A common sight of me can be in Eastern Africa, the Red Sea to French Polynesia, and in coral reefs cleaning shark mouths, fish’s gills, and other parts of fish. As my name suggests, Cleaner Wrasse, prefer to be cleaning other fish because they are part of my food source which are ectoparasites, other tiny plankton and any tissue or bad bacteria a fish may have. Those trying to capture me are able to find me mostly in coral reefs or just in general attached to other fish. Cleaner Wrasse tend to be removed from their natural habitat to be transported to aquariums to keep them clean, but only does harm to their environment decreasing the population of fish by 33%. They may also reduce stress hormones to a variety of reef fish.

Look carefully next time you are snorkeling or scuba diving, you just might catch a glimpse of me while in a cleaning station.

Sincerely,

The Cleaner Wrasse.

(Oh hey look at the pic below to see me in action!)

Cleaner Wrasse cleaning the inside of gills. Creds: Gregory R. Mann

 

 Article writte by special guest Ashley Burgos and the MPA-Ambassador written media interns from Mar Vista High School.

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