Diurnal Variation of Cleaning Intensity in Bonaire, N.A

Cleaner species are believed to help maintain the health of client species by cleansing them of parasites, dead or infected tissue and debris which leads to healthier fish and in turn maintains the health of the entire ecosystem. Cleaning intensity may vary depending on several factors such as ectoparasite load, hunger levels of cleaners, and possible overlap of nocturnal and diurnal client species. Data on cleaning intensities during three different times of day (early morning, afternoon, and late evening) were collected for three different species of cleaners: Periclimenes pedersoni, juvenile Thalassoma bifasciatum, and Gobiosoma spp. in Bonaire, N.A. Research was conducted at the Yellow Sub dive site Bonaire, N.A. Analysis of the data collected during this study indicate that different cleaning species do in fact show significant differences in the amount of time they spend cleaning throughout the day. In addition, we found that the number of client species visiting the different cleaner species also varied, with P. pedersoni having the largest number of clients visiting and juvenile T. biffasciatum having the smallest.

This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science III (Spring 2008)19: 55-59 from CIEE Bonaire.

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