How Pilot Fish Convinces Sharks Not To Eat Them

The ocean is a scary place for many organisms, but one fish has found that it’s not as dangerous if you drop out of your school and join an elite group. The deep-sea can be treacherous, to say the least, with hungry predators lurking around every turn-and while most creatures choose large groups strategies in order to keep from being eaten altogether by those big bad fishes down there waiting below us on each coral reef or ship at anchoring point-,one genius fish took matters into its own hands when facing such adversity: the Pilot fish!

Meet the Pilot fish, a little swimmer with some big friends

These aquatic animals, measuring up to 12 inches long (though usually closer to the former) are recognizable by their six or seven vertical stripes on an otherwise tropical-colored body – but what makes them remarkable is who they keep company with! The beautiful and clever pilot fish are often found in aquariums or rivers across the world, where they form one of nature’s most fascinating mutualistic relationships. These creatures guard themselves against threats by tagging alongside sharks!

pilot fish


They say that the best relationship is one where both parties can co-exist without killing each other. And in a remarkable show to tolerate, sharks have come to not only welcome but also protect pilot fish from being eaten by their own kind as long as this protector keeps them free of harmful parasites and cleans up bits found on excess food! In fact, such is the level of trust between the animals that pilot fish are even known to enter their shark’s mouth to nibble away food debris. A book about sailing published in 1832 even remarked about what appeared to be a sense of loyalty between them:

The beautiful little fish called the pilot-fish, which always accompanies the shark, has been known to follow a ship for six weeks after the shark to which it belonged was taken!

pilot fish

I’m not sure what the fish was thinking but it’s likely they weren’t acting out of concern. Pilotfish is known to swim alongside other things bigger than them, like manta rays and sea turtles; however, when considering powerful friends nothing beats a shark!