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The labor market for pest removal

Bjorn Carey reports on a new article in Nature talks about the economics of getting rid of parasites. (You can also get the actual scientific study here if you either have a link through a university or want to shell out $18 for it.)

This is not about humans, but rather, a species of fish Scolopsis bilineatus that “hires” another species of fish Labroides dimidiatus to eat the parasites off their scales. The parasite-eaters, however, prefer to eat their boss’s mucus all else equal. The article describes how the boss fish tries to arrange the incentives to encourage the worker fish to stick to eating only the parasites.