Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse

by Ev Schultz

The Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse, Labroides phthirophages, sets up a "cleaning station" in a particular area of a reef. It attracts reef fish and eels in need of cleaning services. Adults have a distinctive yellow anterior, and black and purple posterior coloration and measure up to 10 cm in length. Born females, all male Hawaiian cleaner wrasse have changed sex and will generally maintain a small harem.

Cleaning Station

It’s enjoyable sitting back and watching cleaning stations, as a diver or snorkeler, while these wrasses are visited by resident fish who come for the removal of parasites and dead scales…a basic cleaning. Those visiting a cleaning station will open their mouths, flare out their pectoral fins, raise their dorsal fins and virtually hover as they wait in line for their scheduled cleaning.

Endemic (en dem ‘ik), adj. belonging exclusively or confined to a particular place or people. “What are the causes of endemism? Quite simply, isolated organisms can only interbreed within their small group. Any changes in the genes of members of a small group will be passed around through interbreeding much more quickly than in a larger one, and eventually there will be enough changes in the genetic composition to make a new species.” An Underwater Guide To Hawai`i, Ann Fielding & Ed Robinson

...... Ev Schultz