Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pairs Of Cleaner Fish Co-operate And Give Better Service On The Coral Reef

Date:
November 4, 2008
Source:
The Swedish Research Council
Summary:
Co-operation in nature often works as an exchange of goods or services between two different parties. Scientists have studied how certain fish on coral reef keep other species of fish clean. The Bluestreak cleaner wrasse helps other fish species by eating parasites from their skin. The cleaner's favorite food is, however, the nutrient-rich mucus layer that covers the client fish.

Two Labroides dimidiatus cleaning Acanthurus mata.
Credit: Photo by Gerry Allen, Image courtesy of The Swedish Research Council

Co-operation in nature often works as an exchange of goods or services between two different parties. In an article in the recent issue of the scientific magazine Nature researchers from Stockholm University have studied how certain fish on coral reef keep other species of fish clean.

Related Articles


The Bluestreak cleaner wrasse (/Labroides dimidiatus/) helps other fish species by eating parasites from their skin. The cleaner's favourite food is, however, the nutrient-rich mucus layer that covers the client fish.

Bluestreak cleaner wrasse eat parasites that have attached themselves to the client fish – but sometimes the cleaner fish can't resist the temptation to take a bite out of the client's mucus layer.

"Because it's a painful bite the client fish ends the co-operation, shakes off the cleaner fish and swims away," says Olof Leimar, professor at Stockholm University's Department of Zoology.

The cleaning is sometimes carried out by a single fish and sometimes by a pair of fish that together serve the same client. The researchers wanted to know if a pair of fish gives better or worse service quality than a single cleaner fish.

"We used a combination of methods – including theoretical models, field observation, and laboratory experiments – in order to study the differences between when the cleaner work alone and when in pairs. Our theoretical model indicates that as long as the cleaners co-operate and watch each other's behaviour they should avoid taking that tempting bite. In such cases the quality of service for the client fish is better than when the cleaner works alone. Our field observations and laboratory experiments show the same results," says Olof Leimar.

Another interesting finding is that the pair always consists of a male and a female – and that the female contributes more than the male to the improved quality of service.

"The pattern of behaviour of both the females and males needs to be studied further. The males are larger than the females. If the female takes a bite of mucus the male will often chase the female. This could mean that the size difference within the pair leads to a situation where there is a threat of punishment," says Olof Leimar.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Swedish Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Swedish Research Council. "Pairs Of Cleaner Fish Co-operate And Give Better Service On The Coral Reef." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027115429.htm>.
The Swedish Research Council. (2008, November 4). Pairs Of Cleaner Fish Co-operate And Give Better Service On The Coral Reef. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027115429.htm
The Swedish Research Council. "Pairs Of Cleaner Fish Co-operate And Give Better Service On The Coral Reef." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027115429.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins