Mutualisms and symbiotic relationships are common in the marine environment. Relationships between cleaner species, their hosts, and their client species are prime examples of these types of relationships. Cleaner shrimp, which are typically found in association with sea anemones, exhibit mutualistic behavior through the removal and consumption of parasites, injured tissue and various other particles from their client fish. The shrimp may inhabit their host anemone alone, or in groups ranging up to more than ten individuals. This study focused on the cleaner shrimp species Ancylomenes pedersoni and examined the relationship between the number of shrimp present at cleaning stations and the number of client fish visiting that station. The relationship between the number of shrimp present and the size of the host anemone was also investigated; the data collected did not support any significant relationships between the variables tested. All data was collected through observational studies and video analysis of specimens in the field. Because cleaner species are crucial to the heath of their clients and therefore to the overall heath of the reef, enhanced understanding of the behavior of A. pedersoni will contribute to better conservation of the species and consequently their client fish.
This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science XV (Spring 2014)19: 1-8 from CIEE Bonaire.