Bizarre color-changing fish looks for help from smaller reef fish
The scrawled file is a very unique fish that has the ability to change color for camouflage. It is also very toxic to predators due to its diet of specific corals and sponges that create a buildup of toxins in its flesh. But despite these amazing defenses, there is one thing that poses a threat to the scrawled file fish and that is the presence of burrowing parasites. In order to rid itself of the troublesome creatures, the filefish needs help from smaller, more agile fish, such as these brown chromis. In order to signal the cleaner fish that it is safe for them to approach, larger fish will suspend themselves vertically and the chromis dash in close for a free meal. The small parasites can burrow under scales and cause serious health risks to the filefish if they are allowed to linger on its skin. This is a good example of a symbiotic relationship on the reef. Both creatures benefit from a mutual understanding.