Do cleaner-fish control infections of parasitic protozoa transmitted by gnathiid isopods and leeches? (2005–2007)

Cleaner-fish remove extraordinary numbers of gnathiid isopods from client-fish on coral reefs. Gnathiiids suck blood. So cleaner-fish help client-fish when they remove gnathiids. Our studies however suggest another likely more important benefit of cleaning to client-fish: that cleaner-fish control the transmission of parasitic protozoa among client-fish by removing gnathiids which vector these protozoa. We will identify the protozoa that infect fish study the effect of these protozoa on fish health; establish whether gnathiids and leeches are vectors of parasitic protozoa; and discover whether cleaner-fish control these vector-borne infections. We will deliver a completely different view of a popular mutualism: cleaning behaviour
Grant type:
ARC Discovery Projects
Funded by:
Australian Research Council