Did you know that there’s an equivalent to a car-wash for underwater animals?
Fish, sea turtles and hippos need to be cleaned just like any other animal, and to do so, they pop in for a quick stop at a cleaning station.
These stations are located either on top of a coral head or between two outcroppings. They are also located under large clumps of seaweed or at a point in a river or lagoon.
When an animal approaches a cleaning station, it will signal that it needs to be cleaned.
Cleaner fish, such as cleaner shrimp, will then eat and remove parasites from the skin and will also swim into the mouth and the gills to clean those hard-to-reach places.
There is, however, a darker side to the operation of cleaner stations. There are some species of combtooth blenny and false cleaner fish that prey on unsuspecting animals.
These animals mimic the appearance and behaviour of cleaner fish, and when a victim approaches, will proceed to tear away scales or flesh.