Cleaner wrasse
  • Labroides dimidiatus
  • EnglishName: Cleaner wrasse
  • Local Name : Theyofulhi mas
  • Size : Max. 11.5 cm
  • Family: LABRIDAE
  • Order : Perciformes
  • Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 10-11 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 10 rays. Pectoral fin with 13 rays. Body depth 4.1-4.7 in standard length. Small scales on cheek, opercle and nape. Lips thick, the lower strongly bi-lobed. Caudal fin truncate to slightly rounded.
  • Colour: Adults light blue, shading to pale yellowish or white anteriorly, with a black stripe from snout through eye to rear edge of caudal fin. This stripe is progressively broader posteriorly. Juveniles largely black with a narrow bright blue stripe on back which continues onto dorsal part of head.
  • Habitat and Biology: Commonly seen on upper reef slopes to depths of 40 m. Feeds on crustacean ectoparasites (and mucus) of other fishes.
  • Distribution: Indo-Pacific.
  • Remarks: Unlike L. bicolor (previous page), Labroides dimidiatus even enters the mouths and gill chambers of some of the larger host fishes in its cleaning operations. Also establishes “cleaning stations” on the reef to which host fishes come for its services.