This fish has been 'dating' diver for 25 years

PHOTO: YouTube video screenshot

For 25 years, an Asian sheepshead wrasse living off the coast of Japan has been greeting diver Hiroyuki Arakawa whenever he goes to tend an underwater Shinto shrine near Tateyama in Chiba prefecture.

Mr Arakawa runs a dive shop near Hasama Underwater Park and manages the shrine in the park.

He consistently reports his meetings with the friendly fish, named Yoriko, on his Facebook page, Inhabitat reported.

Mr Arakawa sometimes greets Yoriko with a kiss when they meet. Yoriko also turns up from time to time when Mr Arakawa brings divers to see the shrine.

The Asian sheepshead wrasse is a pinkish-grey fish with "humps" on its forehead and chin, and is native to the Western Pacific Ocean. The greatest weight recorded for this species of wrasse is about 15kg and reportedly can reach 1m in length.

The fish is known to inhabit rocky reef areas.

In case you're wondering, the underwater shrine is a branch of Sunosaki-jinja on Cape Sunosaki near Tateyama (see video below). It was built about 20 years ago, and is 12m underwater. As expected, it's visited by divers.

Want more evidence that man can bond with animals?

Check out the story of ocean expert and cinematographer Valerie Taylor who befriended a spotted moray eel...

...and of the penguin that swims thousands of miles to visit the man who saved its life.

sinsh@sph.com.sg

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