Long-term cleaner fish presence affects growth of a coral reef fish

Clague, Gillian E., Cheney, Karen L., Goldizen, Anne W., McCormick, Mark I., Waldie, Peter A. and Grutter, Alexandra S. (2011) Long-term cleaner fish presence affects growth of a coral reef fish. Biology Letters, 7 6: 863-865. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0458

Author Clague, Gillian E.
Cheney, Karen L.
Goldizen, Anne W.
McCormick, Mark I.
Waldie, Peter A.
Grutter, Alexandra S.
Title Long-term cleaner fish presence affects growth of a coral reef fish
Journal name Biology Letters   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1744-9561
Publication date 2011-11-23
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0458
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 7
Issue 6
Start page 863
End page 865
Total pages 3
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Cleaning behaviour is considered to be a classical example of mutualism. However, no studies, to our knowledge, have measured the benefits to clients in terms of growth. In the longest experimental study of its kind, over an 8 year period, cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus were consistently removed from seven patch reefs (61–285 m2) and left undisturbed on nine control reefs, and the growth and parasite load of the damselfish Pomacentrus moluccensis determined. After 8 years, growth was reduced and parasitic copepod abundance was higher on fish from removal reefs compared with controls, but only in larger individuals. Behavioural observations revealed that P. moluccensis cleaned by L. dimidiatus were 27 per cent larger than nearby conspecifics. The selective cleaning by L. dimidiatus probably explains why only larger P. moluccensis individuals benefited from cleaning. This is the first demonstration, to our knowledge, that cleaners affect the growth rate of client individuals; a greater size for a given age should result in increased fecundity at a given time. The effect of the removal of so few small fish on the size of another fish species is unprecedented on coral reefs.
Keyword Symbiosis
Coral reef ecology
Fish behaviour
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Created: Wed, 19 Oct 2011, 02:48:37 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences