If you’ve seen Finding Nemo, you probably remember the little french shrimp, Jacques. Jacques, a Pacific cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis), always made sure the tank was clean, and was appalled when everything was filthy. But, this behaviour is not limited to cartoon films—there are little Crustaceans all over the watery world, who like Jacques, enjoy “cleaning” their environment—and sometimes their fishy counterparts.
It has been observed that different species of fish will “line up” in a set up that’s similar to one would see at a car wash. The fish wait for their turn to be cleaned by little crustaceans and even some cleaner fish, like wrasses (Labroides dimidatus) and gobies (Genus Elacatinus). These cleaner fish/shrimp will remove and eat any parasites off the skin, both internally and externally.
There are many incredible parts to this cleaning symbiosis. Some of the fish that come to be cleaned would actually, under other circumstances, eat the cleaner fish or shrimp. Perhaps the most incredible thing about these cleaning stations is the fact that there are many different species of both cleaned fish and cleaner fish/shrimp in these cleaning lines, but they somehow manage to communicate and get through the cleaning. This communication between species is evidence that some chemical exchange must be occurring.