Aspidontus taeniatus Quoy & Gaimard, 1834
False cleanerfish
photo by Randall, J.E.

 Family:  Blenniidae (Combtooth blennies), subfamily: Blenniinae
 Max. size:  11.5 cm TL (male/unsexed)
 Environment:  reef-associated; depth range 1 - 25 m
 Distribution:  Pacific Ocean: Cocos-Keeling Islands (Ref. 9399) and Christmas Island (Ref. 30874) in the eastern Indian Ocean to the Line, Marquesan, and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to New South Wales; throughout Micronesia.
 Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 10-12; Dorsal soft rays (total): 26-28; Anal spines: 2-2; Anal soft rays: 25-28. Bears an amazing resemblance to the cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus. Distinguished from L. dimidiatus by the position of its mouth, which is terminal in the wrasse but under the snout in the blenny.
 Biology:  Adults are found solitary or in small groups (Ref. 90102) in lagoons, subtidal reef flats and outer reef slopes (where it occurs to depths of over 20 m). Often in pairs in empty worm tubes or narrow holes. They mimic the cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus and nip fins, skin and scales of other fishes (Ref. 9710). They even copy the motion of the cleaner wrasse that may induce other fish to come close, then target their scales or mucus for a feed, biting and quickly retreating to the corals before the victim realizes that it was tricked; experienced fish recognize imposters and often give it a chase (Ref. 48636). Diet is supplemented with benthic invertebrates and zooplankton (Ref. 94105). Also feed on tubeworms and demersal fish eggs. Oviparous. Eggs are demersal and adhesive (Ref. 205), and are attached to the substrate via a filamentous, adhesive pad or pedestal (Ref. 94114). Larvae are planktonic, often found in shallow, coastal waters (Ref. 94114).
 IUCN Red List Status:   (Ref. 96402)
 Threat to humans:  harmless
 Country info:   
 

 Entered by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 15.07.92
 Modified by: Luna, Susan M. - 21.01.14
 Checked by: Binohlan, Crispina B. - 29.08.94

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