Licker fish

Licker fish

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This image is part of the feature Biotherapy

Credit: LOUISE MURRAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Licker fish (Garra rufa), Kangal Spa, Turkey. The spa is home to two fish species, lickers and strikers (Cyprinion macrostomus macrostomus). These normally vegetarian fish graze on the surface of patients suffering from the skin condition psoriasis. The fish eat loose flakes of skin, removing psoriasis plaques and exposing the affected skin to ultraviolet rays of the sun and warm spring water of the spa. The treatment succeeds in over 70 percent of patients and the effects last over 8 months. Fish therapy is known as Ichthiotherapy and can also be used to treat eczema and other skin conditions.

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