Bluestreak cleaner wrasse – Labroides dimidiatus – represents a particular form of mutualistic symbiosis, quite widespread in the marine aquatic environment, in this case between a Labroides dimidiatus cleaner fish and a Titan Triggerfish. The cleaning operations constitute a mode of relationship in which the cleaner fish feeds on the ectoparasites, on the now dead skin tissue flaps and on the food residues of the host, which undergoes its care. The “customer”, i.e. the fish being cleaned, gains a better fit of its body, while the cleaner gains nourishment.. Bluestreak cleaner wrasse Pesce pulitore Labroides dimidiatus
Labroides dimidiatus, sometimes known by its common name cleaner fish, or Bluestreak cleaner wrasse is a small tropical saltwater fish belonging to the Labridae family.
The cleaner wrasse is 8-10 cm long and is diffused along the coasts of the tropical Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea, the Persian gulf and eastern Africa to Polynesia reaching northern Japan. It mainly frequents the coral reefs both in the lagoons and in the external parts, depths between 1 and 40 metres, but usually not more than 30.
A particular form of mutualistic symbiosis widespread in the aquatic environment, both marine and freshwater, is represented by the cleaning behavior performed by the so-called cleaner fish. The cleaning operations constitute a mode of relationship in which the cleaner fish feeds on the ectoparasites, on the now dead skin tissue flaps and on the food residues of the host, which undergoes its care. The “customer”, i.e. the fish being cleaned, gains a better fit of its body, while the cleaner gains nourishment.
After a complex nuptial ritual, the female lays small floating eggs. The larvae lead a period of life in open waters, before settling in a stretch of coral reef.
Titan triggerfish, Giant triggerfish or Moustache triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens) is a large species of triggerfish found in lagoons and at reefs to depths of 50 m. in most of the Indo-Pacific, though it is absent from Hawaii. With a length of up to 75 centimetres. it is the largest species of triggerfish in its range (the stone triggerfish, Pseudobalistes naufragium, from the east Pacific is larger.
The Titan triggerfish is diurnal and solitary. It feeds on sea urchins, molluscs, crustaceans, tube worms, and coral. It often feeds by turning over rocks, stirring up sand and biting off pieces of branching coral. This is why other smaller fish species are often seen around it, as they feed on the detritus and smaller organisms that are stirred up. Titan triggerfish have been observed being aggressive to other fish who enter their territory.
The Titan triggerfish is usually wary of divers and snorkelers, but during the reproduction season the female guards its nest, which is placed in a flat sandy area, vigorously against any intruders. The territory around the nest is roughly cone-shaped and divers who accidentally enter it may be attacked. Divers should swim horizontally away from the nest rather than upwards which would only take them further into the territory. Although bites are not venomous, the strong teeth can inflict serious injury that may require medical attention.
The threat posture includes the triggerfish facing the intruder while holding its first dorsal spine erect. It may also roll onto its side, allowing it a better look at the intruder it perceives as threatening its nest. The titan triggerfish will not always bite, but can swim at snorkellers and divers escorting them out of their territory. The flesh of the titan triggerfish is sometimes ciquatoxic.
(extract from Wikipedia)