This is an eyestripe surgeonfish that has a very sharp spine at the base of its tail. Notice the coloration that draws your attention to this effective defense - that little white thing where the tail attaches to the body. The color is a warning to stay away. But also notice the little fish below. It is a cleaner, sometimes called the doctor of the reef, because it cleans them by removing parasites and diseased tissue. It gets confusing sometimes with all the names given to fish. The surgeonfish is a patient and the doctor is a cleaner who helps fish stay healthy. But here on the reef fish don't pay their doctors in money. The doctors get to eat what they remove from their patients. It's not likely our doctors would like this form of payment.
All Photos Courtesy & Copyright Richard Murphy.
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