, Volume 1, Issue 1-2, pp 22-33

Reexamination on the aggressive mimicry of the cleaner wrasseLabroides dimidiatus by the blennyAspidontus taeniatus (Pisces; Perciformes)

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Abstract

Field observations on feeding and related behavior of the mimic blennyAspidontus taeniatus and 3 species closely related to it, and the cleaner fish (model)Labroides dimidiatus were made at the coral reef of Sesoko Island, Okinawa, Japan, along with analysis of gut contents. The mimic blenny fed mostly on demersal eggs of fishes and tentacles of polychaetes, but it rarely tore pieces from the fins of host fishes even when they were posing for cleaning. The feeding habits of the mimic blenny are compared with those in other localities and with those of related species. It is concluded that the mimicry can hardly be regarded as an aggressive one: posing by host fishes seems to be a secondary result of the resemblance which may have developed because of the benefit for immunity from predation, and the resemblance itself prevents the blenny from becoming a specialized fin-eater because it can be easily recognized by host fishes.