My ongoing study of fish cleaners and cleaner fish continued recently when I caught the last ¾ of “Atlantic: The Wildest Ocean on Earth” (Season 1, Episode 3) on Channel 9 TV recently.

I had missed the first 15 minutes of the program but settled down to watch the remainder of it when I saw that it featured much marine life and underwater footage.

The program soon featured a manatee which then got cleaned of algae by ‘young parrotfish’. Yes, I realise that manatees are not found in South Australian waters, but I am interested in the fish cleaning or cleaner fish aspect. According to Wikipedia, Manatees (family Trichechidae, genus Trichechus) are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows.

I unsuccessfully tried finding some information online about manatees and cleaner parrotfish. I did, however, manage to find a photograph at . It showed a manatee surrounded by little fish (blue gill fish?) “eating algae, parasites and dead skin”.

A search for actual footage of “Atlantic: The Wildest Ocean on Earth” (Season 1, Episode 3) was successful when I found what I was looking for at .

I was able to watch the complete program online. The manatee was first featured at about 7 minutes into the program, a section that I had initially missed on TV. The actual bit about a manatee being cleaned of algae by ‘young parrotfish’ featured at about 20 minutes into the program.

That’s about all that I have to say on the “‘Young Parrotfish’ Clean Algae From Manatee” matter, but I may as well mention a newspaper report in today’s Sunday Mail.

The Sunday Mail of 29th July 2018 reported the recent death of 20-odd manatees in southern Mexico. The report states, “A total of 27 manatees died in waterways in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco between May and this month (July 2018). Scientists are still performing tests to determine whether water contamination caused the deaths.”

The report said, “After the death of 21 manatees in southern Mexico, authorities have decided to capture and transport the remaining mammals to a safe enclosure” and “The manatees will be transported by boat and enclosed in tanks.”

I found this photo of a manatee in Crystal River, Florida in Marine Photobank, taken by Allssion Viora: –

Photo by Alession Viora/Marine Photobank


By Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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