TitleCleaner fish coloration decreases predation risk in aggressive fangblenny mimics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsCheney KL
Date PublishedSep-Oct
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1045-2249
Accession NumberBIOSIS:PREV201300606309
Keywords07002, Behavioral biology - General and comparative behavior, 07003,, 07508, Ecology: environmental, 07512, Ecology: environmental biology - Oceanography, 18504, Integumentary system - Physiology and biochemistry, Animals, Chordates, Fish,, Behavior, Behavioral biology - Animal behavior, biology - Animal, bluestriped fangblenny] [Labroides dimidiatus, cleaner, dermal tissue, integumentary system, Marine Ecology (Ecology, Environmental Sciences), Nonhuman Vertebrates, Vertebrates, Osteichthyes [85206], Pisces, Vertebrata, Chordata, Animalia, rhinorhynchos, risk-taking behavior, species predation risk, cleaner fish coloration, wrasse], [Plagiotremus
AbstractMimicry systems can be classified by the nature of fitness benefits obtained by the mimic, namely increased mating opportunities (reproductive), increased foraging potential (aggressive), or reduced predation risk (protective). However, there is increasing evidence that mimicry categories are not mutually exclusive and mimics can obtain benefits from more than 1 category. Here, I provide evidence that an aggressive mimic, the bluestriped fangblenny Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos, also benefits from reduced predation risk by resembling the juvenile cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus, which are thought to be relatively immune from predation due to the mutualistic nature of cleanerclient interactions. Instead of removing ectoparasites from larger reef fish, bluestriped fangblennies approach and attack reef fish removing scales and dermal tissue. Fangblennies can switch between their mimic and nonmimic coloration within 510min, depending on whether their model (the cleaner wrasse) is present or absent. I found that mimic fangblennies increased their risk-taking behavior toward potential predators compared with nonmimic fangblennies. Mimics were also more likely to attack other reef fish in the presence of predators compared with nonmimics. Animals should only increase risk-taking behavior when they perceive the threat of predation to be low. Therefore, this study provides important evidence that cleaner coloration provides protection from predation to both cleaner fish and their mimics, and the benefits of aggressive mimicry of cleaner wrasse have to be reevaluated in the light of these data.