Why Can't We Just Be Friends?

What with all this fighting between Invertebrates and Vertebrates, I get thinking why do we have to fight?
Why can't we learn from the cleaner fish?
From New Scientist:

Peacemakers should look to the cleaner fish as a role model. In the coral reef world at least, all it takes to keep an aggressive predator in check and bystanders safe is good service and a gentle rub.

Cleaner fish remove and eat the parasites off other fish, exchanging a grooming service for a tasty meal.

Researchers have previously shown that cleaners who enhance their service by touching the fish they are cleaning with their fins benefit from more cooperative clients. This is especially helpful if the customer is a predator that could attack the cleaner.

But now it seems that the calming effect of the cleaner fish's touch has wider repercussions. It makes hunters so mellow that it transforms the cleaning station into a safe haven for other fish, says Redouan Bshary at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland.


  1. Yeah well if all you ever wanted to be in life was to be a 'cleaner' fish then yes your probably ok. But if you want to be top of the food chain then things need to be eaten along the way.

  2. What about the false cleaners that visually and behaviorally mimic species (or stages) of fish that are cleaners, right up to the point that they take a delicious bite of exposed tasty bits.

  3. psst... like your blog, but add a little content in your RSS feed so I can see what the post is about (i.e. so I can skip over it if its just another vertebrate post) ;p

  4. Yeah I have been fiddling with settings for a few days now to try to fix that RSS content problem. Something wacky is happening between Blogger and Feedburner. I will keep on at it...