Definition of cleaner fish in English:

cleaner fish


  • A small fish, especially a striped wrasse, that is permitted to remove parasites from the skin, gills, and mouth of larger fishes, to their mutual benefit.

    • ‘At fish-cleaning stations, cleaner fish nibble the parasites from the gills and mouths of fishes much larger than they are.’
    • ‘Closer to the reef, divers will be attracted by the hive of activity - wrasses, damselfish, butterflyfish and cleaner fish dart about foraging for food among the hard corals.’
    • ‘The larger fish not only refrain from devouring these small cleaner fish, but actually readily open their mouth and gill cavities so that they are able to clean.’
    • ‘The little helpers known as cleaner fish, which nibble parasites off larger reef fish, actually prefer to nibble their clients.’
    • ‘Until recently, similar experiments on cleaner fish symbioses had failed to detect parasite reduction benefits to the host fish.’