Do you know that the fish here in Hawai‘i go to the dentist on a regular basis to have their teeth cleaned? From large sharks to young yellow tangs, they all get free dental work, but they must go to the dentist’s office. We call their office a “cleaning station,” and the dentist is a Hawaiian cleaner wrasse.
This small, colorful fish has a territory on the reef, and when it is ready for clients it darts above the reef back and forth, flashing its bright colors. Most divers have seen this fish due to its bright-yellow, blue and purple color, but few people actually know much about the cleaner wrasse. Sometimes there will be two to three cleaner wrasse above one coral outcropping and 10 to 15 much-larger fish waiting in line to have their teeth cleaned. When the larger fish want a cleaning, they remain still right above