The Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse is part of the cleaner wrasse family, which is often found roving around the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and in various seas in Southeast Asia and the Red Sea.
Oscar, the title character of the 2004 Dreamworks-produced Shark Tale, was actually a Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse, whose “cleaning duty” premise can be described as a tailor-fit plot device for the animated feature. Though the movie didn’t exactly rake in critical acclaim, it was a commercial success, and with its success, interests directed towards the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse was increased.
As with other types of cleaner wrasse, the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse is known for is mutualist relationship with larger fish species, with its small size and opted diet of dead tissues and parasites. Also known to physically sport a blue streak lining along its entire body, the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse’s name can be pegged as a literal definition of the fish as a species.
Most of the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse’s “clients” identify them through their body’s blue streak, and once they are recognized, the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse gets busy by cleaning up the large fish’s body from unwanted on-surface build ups, mostly focusing on areas which aren’t easy to “reach”.
The gills of large fish, for example, are common areas which Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasses would first clean, as well as the mouth of large fishes, where bits of tissue can easily get stuck.
What the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse gets from the setup is protection from underwater predators, as well as their daily diet of parasites and bits of dead tissue.
As a species, the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse is an interesting one, given how it naturally thrives with larger predators swimming around its natural habitats.
Growing as large as four inches in size, they are quite small and easy prey for larger fish, but their smallness hasn’t been an issue for them, in finding a way for them to live without any danger underwater.