Grouper getting a make-over

Last week I posted something small, so this week it is time for something big (I try to alternate.)

This is a Nassau Grouper getting a make-over from some Peterson Cleaner Shrimp at a cleaning station. If you look carefully you can see the shrimp in its mouth.

A cleaning station is a place where fish (and other creatures) can come and get a cleaning from resident shrimps and other cleaning fishes. The cleaning consists of removing dead skin and flesh, as well as any parasites that may be on the fish getting cleaned.

A reef will have cleaning stations all over, you only need to look where fish are hovering, usually at a slight angle, with their mouths and/or gill open. This is usually the signal that they want a cleaning rather than hunting for dinner!

On this particular shot I was able to loiter for about 5 minutes, taking lots of shots as the shrimp clambered all over the grouper to clean it. Cleaning stations are a great place to get good shots because the fish are usually very relaxed and don’t move, so if you are patient you will be usually rewarded with great shots.

The oddity here is that I could not see the Corkscrew Anemone where Peterson Cleaner Shrimp usually hide in, but maybe it was tucked away somewhere out of sight.

Peterson Cleaner Shrimp will also clean diver’s hands if you let them which I have done before and which will be the subject of a future post.


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