Parasite distribution on client reef fish determines cleaner fish foraging patterns

Bshary, R. and Grutter, A. S. (2002) Parasite distribution on client reef fish determines cleaner fish foraging patterns. Marine Ecology-progress Series, 235 217-222. doi:10.3354/meps235217

Author Bshary, R.
Grutter, A. S.
Title Parasite distribution on client reef fish determines cleaner fish foraging patterns
Journal name Marine Ecology-progress Series   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0171-8630
Publication date 2002
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3354/meps235217
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 235
Start page 217
End page 222
Total pages 6
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-Research
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Abstract Recent evidence suggests that cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus effectively control parasite densities on client reef fish that actively visit them to have parasites and dead or infected tissue removed. These findings support the hypothesis that clients benefit from cleaning, However, they do not show how cleaners reduce the parasite load of their clients. Cleaners could selectively feed on parasites or parasite removal could be a side product of cleaners foraging indifferently on the client surface, resulting in the removal of healthy mucus and scales also. To investigate cleaner fish foraging behaviour, we infected individuals of the surgeon fish Ctenochaetus striatus, with parasitic monogeneans on one body side, while the other body side was parasite free. We then allowed these clients to interact with L, dimidiatus. We found that the duration of interactions depended on parasite load, and that cleaners spent both more time and took more bites per time unit on the infected than on the uninfected side, Our data thus support the idea that parasite abundance determines food patch quality for cleaners. The overall outcome of cleaning interactions is thus likely to benefit the clients.
Keyword Ecology
Marine & Freshwater Biology
Cleaning Behaviour
Selective Foraging
Labroides Dimidiatus
Labroides-phthirophagus Labridae
Ectoparasite Loads
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 13 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 14 Aug 2007, 17:25:44 EST