The Parrotfish

 

The parrotfish is generally brightly colored; about 60 species of parrotfishes swim in coral reefs around the world. They have fused teeth that form beaklike plates, giving them a parrotlike appearance. They have large thick scales that, in some species, are strong enough to stop a spear.

Parrotfishes produce tons of coral reef sand each year. The sand-making process begins as the fishes graze on the algal film that grows on coral rock. To feed on the algae, the fishes munch on pieces of coral. Molarlike teeth in their throats grind the coral, which then travels through their digestive systems and is deposited in the reef as white coral sand.

Parrotfishes are daytime creatures. At night they burrow in the sand or hide in crevices. Some species even secrete a clear mucous cocoon around themselves at night, which probably masks their scent and helps protect them from predators like sharks and moray eels.

Parrotfish are in the Phylum Chordata, Class Osteichthyes, Order Perciformes and Family Scaridae. The images you see here are typical of the parrotfish seen underwater around Maui, which is but one of the sights which makes snorkeling so much fun. These were taken on December 13, 2015, with my little underwater point and shoot in the Ahihi-Kinau  Natural Reserve Area, a place protected from all forms of fishing, such as pole, net, spear. Lots of fish! A  delightful place to snorkel!

the colorful parrotfish appears to have a perpetual smile

A close up image of a parrotfish and its big grin


 

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