Species Index

Labroides dimidiatus
(Valenciennes, 1839)

Common Name: Common Cleanerfish

Distribution: Abundant in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Widespread tropical west Pacific, north to Japan, south to southern New South Wales, Japan and Micronesia, Red Sea and east Africa. In Australia recorded from southern Western Australia around the tropical north to Queensland, south to southern New South Wales, and including Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands.

Ecological Notes: Coral or rocky reef, boulder areas. Specialised feeders, they set up “cleaning stations” at locations where other fish come to be rid of parasites, dead skin and mucus. Shallow to about 20 m.

Additional Notes: Black line through eye widens into wedge shape at tail and terminal mouth distinguishes from similar Aspidontus taeniatus. Small juveniles blue or white above and below the central black line. Feed on crustacean ectoparasites and mucus of other fish and are tolerated to the extent they will allow the cleaner wrasse to enter open mouths and gills, as pictured (top). Cleanerfish are essential to other fishes health and cleaning is a regular feature of fish behaviour. Grows to 14 cm.

References: R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.321.

FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. Accessed 23/05/18.