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Wound Healing: A Possible Role of Cleaning Stations

Susan A. Foster
Copeia
Vol. 1985, No. 4 (Dec. 10, 1985), pp. 875-880
DOI: 10.2307/1445236
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1445236
Page Count: 6
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Wound Healing: A Possible Role of Cleaning Stations
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Abstract

Detailed observations made over an 18 month period on four local populations of Caribbean blue tangs (Acanthurus coeruleus, Acanthuridae) indicate that death rarely results from infection following an injury despite a relatively high frequency of minor injuries. Infected tissue was never observed on either juveniles or adults and recovery rates from both minor and severe injury were high. In all cases followed, healing of injured adult A. coeruleus was rapid and complete. Behavior observations on three severely wounded adult blue tangs, a yellow jack (Caranx bartholomaei; Carangidae) and a yellowtail parrotfish (Sparisoma rubripinne; Scaridae) indicate a possible role of cleaner fishes in the healing process. Injured individuals spend more time at cleaning stations than they do after the healing process is well advanced. Cleaner fishes pick at the wound and dead peripheral tissue. Detailed descriptions of the healing process are provided.

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