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Tourism and Manta rays Part 3: Fish cleaners and cleaning stations By Dr. Anne-Marie Kitchen Wheeler Project Founder Manta Ecology Project.

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Presentation on theme: "Tourism and Manta rays Part 3: Fish cleaners and cleaning stations By Dr. Anne-Marie Kitchen Wheeler Project Founder Manta Ecology Project."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tourism and Manta rays Part 3: Fish cleaners and cleaning stations By Dr. Anne-Marie Kitchen Wheeler Project Founder Manta Ecology Project

2 Fish Cleaning Behaviour Cleaning behaviour where one or a number of animals groom a client is most common and widespread in reef fishes (Losey 1972), and has been widely researched in fish since Feder (1966).Losey Cleaners are defined as reef fish or crustaceans involved in the mutualistic relationship of parasite removal and wound cleaning of the client fish. 2

3 The cleaner may remove ectoparasites, bacteria, mucus, diseased and injured tissue and unwanted food particles from the client (Feder 1966).Feder 1966 Fish are cleaned many times each day (Grutter 1995) 3

4 The interactions usually occur in a defined area or territory, commonly referred to as a ‘station’ (Gooding 1964; Feder 1966; Youngbluth 1968).Gooding 1964Feder 1966Youngbluth 1968 A cleaning station is a defined area of cleaner fish, although groups of conspecific cleaners may form large aggregations which are not fixed and move around a section of reef creating a movable cleaning station. Client fish visit the station in anticipation of being- cleaned by the cleaner fish. The association between cleaners and clients is widely viewed as obligate, co- evolved and mutualistic (Bshary and Côté 2008). 4

5 5 Manta rays, sharks, jacks and tunas also visit cleaning stations. Clients encounter different cleaners in different parts of the world. Many different fish act as cleaners.

6 Thalassoma Amblycephalum Blunthead wrasse 6

7 Labroides dimidiatus Bluestreak cleaner wrasse 7

8 Labroides bicolor Bicolor wrasse 8

9 Thalassoma lunare Moon wrasse 9

10 False cleaners Bluestriped sabretooth bennies (Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos) look like cleaner wrasse and use deceit to attack fish including mantas 10

11 How to count cleaners! The easiest way to count cleaners is to process photos identifying different species with different colours (red: blunthead, yellow: moon). Up to 111 cleaners have been counted on a manta. 11

12 Types of cleaning station 12 CategoryDescriptionExamples Single bommie Single bommie (or small cluster of bommies), usually Porites spp., located at current convergence points or current eddy points near channel or on ocean facing reef. Typically 1-4 aggregations of cleaners per bommie. Lankan reef, Maavaru, Helengeli thila, Fushifaru thila, Big thila, Mulidhoo corner, Kani, Kurali, Muli, Mudakan (10 sites) Lagoon blocks Isolated coral blocks in shallow lagoons with sand bottoms. 1-4 aggregations of cleaners per block. Sunlight thila, Fairytale, Sandune, North channel, Desperation thila, Hanifaru, Dhiggiri (7 sites) Outer reef flat Area of reef crest or reef flat on ocean facing outer reef. >>10 aggregations of cleaners distributed over m² Boduhithi Rasfari North, Madivaru, Kalhahandi huraa, Manadhoo, Alimathaa, Maa faru, Emas thila, Himendhoo thila (9 sites) Area on thilaAggregation of cleaner fish at specific area of thila, area may be visually distinctive. 10>4 aggregations of cleaners may be involved Table thila, Boduhithi thila, Dhigu thila, Donfanu thila, Nelivaru, Iguraidhoo thila, Kottefaru thila, Ukulhas (8 sites)

13 Birds-eye-view diagram of the main cleaning station block at Lankan Each “Area” is an aggregation of cleaner fish. The presence of cleaners at Area 4 varied with season 13

14 Thank you for your attention contact details: 14


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