Cleaning gobies are a species of fish no more than four centimeters long. They live around coral reefs or sandy flats and provide free cleaning to any fish with the understanding that they won’t be eaten in return. They feed on juvenile isopods, dead tissue and parasites that they pick off the skin of other fish.
These little gobies will live in the same place for their whole lives and set up a sort of “cleaning station” where they will service as many as 100 individuals in an hour! Usually two cleaning gobies will pair up and maintain a cleaning station together.
The sharknose goby is easy to identify. It has two stripes along the top of its body that conjoin to form a V shape at the tip of its nose. These stripes will vary in colour from white, to blue and even yellow.
Although sharknose gobies provide a service to predatory fish, they are not entirely off the menu. Gobies are often seen burrowing into the ground to shelter themselves from the eyes of predators. Hopefully these gobies won’t be using this trick to hide the next time you’re looking for one in the water!