During snorkelling a couple of months ago on Canary Islands I've been watching stingrays which I think are "Roughtail stingrays". Often this fish (on pic) was accompanying those stingrays. So what kind of fish is this and why it's hanging around stingrays? enter image description here

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I've seen this behaviour many times so I'm sure it's not a coincidence.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! Interesting question — did you observe any interactions between the fish and the ray? For example, did you ever see the ray feeding and how did the fish react? My suspicion would be that the fish is hoping to benefit from the ray's foraging. ——— You may also want to take the time to go through the tour and the help pages starting with How to Ask questions effectively on this site. Thanks! 😊 $\endgroup$ – tyersome Oct 20 '19 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ @tyersome thanks for the hint. No unfortunately I haven't seen any interactions between them. This fish is kinda just hanging around. If you come closer to the stingray the fish will flee and leave the stingray. Also I haven't seen other species of fish hanging around stingrays, it was always the same. I was thinking maybe it's looking for protection? This is completely sandy coast with no cover for fish, maybe hanging around stingray is safer, meaning if it flees the fish will know that danger is around. Maybe stingray sensing danger much better than this fish. $\endgroup$ – cy8g3n Oct 21 '19 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ The fish it seems is one of weevers $\endgroup$ – cy8g3n Oct 21 '19 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ Curious — the only thing I've been able to find about stingray symbiotic relationships are mutualistic relationships with cleaner wrasses and commensal relationships with fish and coastal birds that capture small animals disturbed by foraging by the stingray. In the absence of any observed interactions the latter still seems like the most likely explanation to me, but I guess you'll just have to go back and make more observations to be sure! $\endgroup$ – tyersome Oct 21 '19 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ @tyersome Probably in a few years :) Though it's not easy to get close to them because they are flee fast. There's some sort of interaction can be seen on this video youtu.be/Gjz52RtPakA if you increase size. It seems fish just swim close to stingray and wait nearby for something. $\endgroup$ – cy8g3n Oct 23 '19 at 20:56

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