Marine Biology

, Volume 159, Issue 5, pp 1173–1176

Observations on a school of ocean sunfish and evidence for a symbiotic cleaning association with albatrosses

  • Takuzo Abe
  • Keiko Sekiguchi
  • Hiroji Onishi
  • Kota Muramatsu
  • Takehiko Kamito
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-011-1873-6

Cite this article as:
Abe, T., Sekiguchi, K., Onishi, H. et al. Mar Biol (2012) 159: 1173. doi:10.1007/s00227-011-1873-6

Abstract

We observed a school of ocean sunfish Mola mola at the surface in the western North Pacific Ocean (40°46.8′N, 165°01.7′E) for about 90 min in July 2010. The school consisted of juvenile fish, approximately 40 cm in total length, which kept the same tight formation throughout the observation. Most fish were heavily infested around the base of their dorsal fins with an ecto-parasite Pennella sp. The fish school appeared to actively follow Laysan albatrosses Phoebastria immutabilis that were sitting on the water nearby, and one of the birds was photographed as it picked a Pennella sp. from one of the fish and ate it. We hypothesize that this symbiotic cleaning behavior by the albatrosses may be a common feature of the biology of the ocean sunfish.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takuzo Abe
    • 1
  • Keiko Sekiguchi
    • 2
  • Hiroji Onishi
    • 4
  • Kota Muramatsu
    • 1
  • Takehiko Kamito
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Fisheries ScienceHokkaido UniversityHakodate CityJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Arts and ScienceInternational Christian UniversityMitaka CityJapan
  3. 3.Department of Life ScienceInternational Christian UniversityMitaka CityJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of Fisheries ScienceHokkaido UniversityHakodate CityJapan