Blue and yellow signal cleaning behaviour in coral reef fishes

Cheney, Karen L., Grutter, Alexandra S., Blomberg, Simon P. and Marshall, N. Justin (2009) Blue and yellow signal cleaning behaviour in coral reef fishes. Current Biology, 19 15: 1283-1287. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.06.028

Author Cheney, Karen L.
Grutter, Alexandra S.
Blomberg, Simon P.
Marshall, N. Justin
Title Blue and yellow signal cleaning behaviour in coral reef fishes
Journal name Current Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0960-9822
Publication date 2009-08-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2009.06.028
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 19
Issue 15
Start page 1283
End page 1287
Total pages 5
Editor North, G.
Place of publication Cambridge, MA, United States
Publisher Cell Press
Language eng
Subject C1
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
Abstract Marine cleaning symbioses are classic examples of mutualism: cleaners remove and consume ectoparasites from‘‘client’’ fish, while clients benefit from a reduction in ectoparasites[1, 2]. However, how clients recognize cleaners and decide not to eat them is unclear. Color and body pattern are thought to be important in signaling cleaning services to coral reef fish [1, 3, 4]; in this study, we tested the longheld belief that cleaner fish display a blue ‘‘guild’’ coloration [5–7]. Via color analytical techniques and phylogenetic comparisons, we show that cleaner fish are more likely to display a blue coloration, in addition to a yellow coloration,compared to noncleaner fish. Via theoretical vision models,we show that, from the perspective of potential signal receivers, blue is the most spectrally contrasting color against coral reef backgrounds, whereas yellow is most contrasting against blue water backgrounds or against black lateral stripes. Finally, behavioral experiments confirm that blue within the cleaner fish pattern attracts more client reef fish to cleaning stations. Cleaner fish have evolved some of the most conspicuous combinations of colors and patterns in the marine environment, and this is likely to underpin the success of the cleaner-client relationship on the reef.
Keyword Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Cell Biology
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Cell Biology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Tue, 05 Jan 2010, 21:53:52 EST by Hayley Ware on behalf of School of Biological Sciences