Blue-spotted Stingray

Preview Blue-spotted stingrays use the help of cleaner fish to stay clean and healthy.
(João Pedro Silva, Flickr)

The blue-spotted stingray (Taeniura lymma) doesn’t like to be covered in sand like other species of stingray do. Instead, it prefers to show off its beautiful blue spots and, to stay up to the best standards, it needs the help of cleaner fish. These cleaner fish remove parasites from larger fish. Their coloring gives them a sort of uniform, which lets the larger fish know not to eat them. Other fish have been smart enough to take on this uniform. The false cleanerfish uses the uniform to get closer to larger fish and bite them before retreating. It is smart to have this strategy since most fish cannot approach the ray undetected.

Fish emit electrical fields that a ray can detect with a skill called electroreception. When the blue-spotted stingray locates prey it scoops the prey up easily using its rounded snout. The ray can then crush the prey using the plates within its mouth.