Parrotfish & Wrasse
Group 6 - Swim with Pectorals / Obvious Scales : The fish in this group all use their pectoral fins to swim with rather than the traditional tail swimming of most other fish. The scales are also quite large and obvious. These fish can also be hermaphrodites, like the groupers, with some fish changing sex and others staying the same. Intermediate and adult fish often have very different appearances compared to the always-male terminal phase. This means learning two colors to be able to ID the same species of fish. Most of the pictures shown in this curriculum are terminal phase males, unless noted.
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5 Fun Facts - Parrotfish
The family of the parrotfish consists of about 95 species and are not only beautiful but also play a crucial role in the delicate balance of our underwater ecosystems, making them a joy to observe for snorkelers and divers alike. Here are some fun facts about these remarkable fish:
Sleep in a Bubble: At night, parrotfish wrap themselves in a mucus cocoon for protection against predators. This unique behavior earned them the nickname "sleeping bags of the sea."
Beak-like Mouths: Parrotfish have beak-like mouths, which resemble a parrot's beak, hence their name. These specialized mouths are perfect for scraping algae and small organisms off coral reefs and rocks.
Sand Makers: Parrotfish are also known as "sand makers." After digesting the algae and coral they consume, they excrete fine white sand, which contributes to the formation of beautiful sandy beaches and islands in tropical regions.
Colorful Personalities: Parrotfish are renowned for their stunning, rainbow-like colors. These hues aren't just for show; they serve as a defense mechanism by helping them blend into their coral reef surroundings.
Gender Bending: Some parrotfish species are known to be hermaphrodites, meaning they can change their sex during their lifetime. This adaptation allows them to maximize reproductive opportunities within their social groups.