A Visit To The Spa

How do you relax if you are a large shark, or a ray, after a busy week rushing about the ocean on one fishy quest after another? A visit to a spa, nicely located on a seamont, for a nose to tail spruce up should fit the bill and get rid of all those pesky, wormy, hitch hikers that have been freeloading all week. Early morning is the time to go for the best work out. Most of the staff are blue streaked cleaner Wrasse. Their enthusiasm is higher first thing in the morning.

Protocol is important at the seamont spas. Some client fish stand on their heads or their tails and Caribbean reef sharks have been observed to lay on their sides in a rather languid manner to indicate that they are ready for service.

Thresher sharks have a problem though, as they have to continue to swim to breath. The spa behavior of these has been reported on by Oliver et al (1) this week. These sharks swim slowly in small circles with their tail fin lowered, each waiting for her wrasse-ment. The staff generally avoid the nose end. A careless yawn by the client could turn into a bad day for an employee in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The ectoparasites have their favorite hideouts around fins and pelvis and the cleaning staff are diligent at tidying up these areas. Any dead skin is also nibbled off for no extra charge. The satisfied client, relaxed and rejuvenated, then sets off on another busy round of duties.

1. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0014755

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