Year of 2017

Smile for the Camera
Bluestriped fangblenny in the Indian Ocean

Perhaps the bluestriped fangblenny smiles because it keeps fooling larger fish. This reef-dweller swims in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It mimics the bluestreak cleaner wrasse, a fish that ‘cleans’ larger fish by picking off dead scales, parasites, and other detritus. The fangblenny, however, is an aggressive mimic. It hangs out at cleaner stations and dupes larger fish into thinking it will give them a spa treatment just like cleaner wrasses do, but instead of cleaning, it takes bites of flesh. And its bite delivers a morphine-like venom that slows down the aggrieved big fish, giving the fangblenny time to swim to safety if its cover is blown.

Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos, commonly called the bluestriped fangblenny, is a species of combtooth blenny found in coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian ocean. This species reaches a length of 12 centimetres SL. It is also known as the bluestriped blenny, bluestriped sabretooth blenny, blunt-nose blenny, cleaner mimic, tube-worm blenny or the two-stripe blenny. They hide in deserted worm tubes or other small holes.
Scientific name: Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos