June 22, 2008 Leave a comment
This fish is interesting, but what is more interesting is the isopod clinging to it just below its eye. It looks like a parasite but in fact it is just hitching a ride, for life.
As juvenile isopod are free floating but as they mature they will ‘catch’ a fish, hook themselves into place and spend the rest of their lives there, feeding of whatever comes their way. Sometimes fish will have on on each side of their heads. Isopods also mate and spawn while on the fish but I am not sure about that.
While there is nothing parasitic about this relationship, there is nothing symbiotic either, the isopod is catching a free ride for life.
The interesting thing is that I had not seen them at all before diving this one site in Turks & Caicos and then saw quite a few. I caught another fish with one which you can see here.