Open wide! Tiny shrimp is the dentist of the sea as it cleans food from the mouths of fish
This shrimp is ‘the dentist of the sea’ as it cleans food and parasites from the mouths of fish.
The tiny creature was captured hard at work by photographer Jordi Benitez during a dive in Tulamben, Indonesia.
The 43-year-old from Calafell, Catalonia visited the ‘cleaning station’ several times to get the pictures she wanted after seeing the extraordinary behaviour of the shrimp last year.
She said: “This area is very well-known by divers because of the huge shipwreck, the USAT Liberty.
“Close to this wreck is a cleaning station where shrimps clean a lot of fish.
“I’d been here a year before and had seen this behavior but I couldn’t take the pictures I wanted so I went back again.
“I dove this place several times so I could take this set of pictures.
“When I saw the place and the behavior I knew immediately which kind of picture I would like to take.
“It took me 3 or 4 dives to get what I was looking for, the fish just in front of me, with the mouth completely open and the shrimp inside.
“It was very difficult because you’ve to be very close to the fish and stay completely quiet.
“I spent more than three hours at a depth of 26 metres in a sandy bottom, in front a small group of rocks full of shrimps.
“I was completely quiet, waiting for the groupers, with some black tip reef sharks swimming around me.
“When finally we saw the grouper coming and starting to open its mouth I was very excited but when finally the shrimp jumped inside the mouth, I had to take pictures and then check I had was I looking for. I started to scream with happiness.”