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Cleaner fishes and shrimp diversity and a re-evaluation of cleaning symbioses
journal contributionposted on 16.12.2019, 00:00 authored by David VaughanDavid Vaughan, AS Grutter, MJ Costello, KS Hutson
Cleaning symbiosis has been documented extensively in the marine environment over the past 50 years. We estimate global cleaner diversity comprises 208 fish species from 106 genera representing 36 families and 51 shrimp species from 11 genera representing six families. Cleaning symbiosis as originally defined is amended to highlight communication between client and cleaner as the catalyst for cooperation and to separate cleaning symbiosis from incidental cleaning, which is a separate mutualism preceded by no communication. Moreover, we propose the term ‘dedicated’ to replace ‘obligate’ to describe a committed cleaning lifestyle. Marine cleaner fishes have dominated the cleaning symbiosis literature, with comparatively little focus given to shrimp. The engagement of shrimp in cleaning activities has been considered contentious because there is little empirical evidence. Plasticity exists in the use of ‘cleaner shrimp’ in the current literature, with the potential to cause significant confusion. Indeed, this term has been used incorrectly for the shrimp Infraorder Stenopodidea, involving three families, Stenopodidae, Palaemonidae and Hippolytidae, and to represent all members of Lysmata and Stenopus. Caution is expressed in the use of grey literature and anecdotal observations to generate data on cleaning interactions, due to the presence of species complexes. Interest in cleaning organisms as biological controls in aquaculture is increasing due to their value as an alternative to various chemical ectoparasite controls. Reports of the importance of cleaner organisms in maintaining a healthy reef ecosystem has also been increasing and we review the current biological knowledge on cleaner organisms, highlighting areas that are understudied.