These bright yellow fish offer sea turtles a swim-thru valet service – congregating to help clean the dirt from their shells.
The school of both yellow tangs and yellow-eyed kole tangs group together to form a ‘feeding station’ in the colorful reef waiting for green turtles to come by for cleaning.
Once the green turtle arrives, the fish eat algae and parasites off the turtle, cleaning the shell while filling themselves up at the same time.
By cleaning the shell, it reduces water friction for the turtle making it easier to swim as well as improving the turtle’s health.
The symbiotic service was filmed in Puako Reef, off the Big Island in Hawaii, by wildlife and underwater photographer Deana Whittemore, 57, and her husband Aaron, 61 in Nov 2017.
Deana, who loves discovering unexpected encounters involving endangered wildlife, said: “Puako reef has a very healthy coral reef, and a healthy ecosystem with lots of wildlife.
“The green sea turtles enter cleaning stations to be cleaned by the yellow tangs and the yellow-eyed kole tangs. This symbiotic relationship benefits both the turtles and the reef fish.
“Green sea turtles are listed as protected on the endangered species list.
“We always feel blessed and fortunate when we are able to witness such exciting and awesome encounters.”