Parrotfish are probably the most colorful living things on the planet. Not only are there 90 some species of them, male and female parrotfish sport different colors and have the ability to change their coloration and patterns repeatedly throughout their lives. Females tend to feature browns, greens, silvers, and grays, while males have more vibrant colors such as pink, aqua, orange, yellow, red, and electric blue. However, in the Mediterranean, the coloration is reversed, with females sporting vivid hues and males drab ones.
Bizarre Fact: Some male parrot fish maintain harems of females. If the male dies, one of the females will change gender and color and become the dominant male.
by richard ling.
Parrotfish are mostly tropical fish that live in all the world’s oceans. The parrotfish family contains ten genera and about 90 species. They get their name from their powerful cutting-edged beaks they use to scrape from the surface of coral, algae, polyps, and other small plant and animal life upon which they feed.
by Maurice Koop.
Parrotfish sleep in pajamas. Every night they secrete mucous from an organ on their head that wraps around their bodies, making them harder for nocturnal predators to find.
Parrotfish meat isn't consumed much in the US, but is considered a delicacy in many other parts of the world. In Polynesia, it was even once considered a dish only fit for the king.
Parrotfish can range in size from 1 to 4 feet (30 to 120 centimeters) in length and have a lifespan of up around 7 years.
by jon hanson.
The key to saving the Caribbean's coral reefs could be the vividly colored parrotfish, according to the journal Nature. Reef ecosystems are increasingly strangled by encroaching seaweed, fertilized by agricultural runoff. However, parrotfish graze on seaweed, using parrot-like beaks. Since sea urchin numbers have dwindled in the Caribbean, parrotfish are the primary grazers. Scientists now believe that protecting the fish could help strangled reefs to recover. Parrotfish need protection because they are a sought-after delicacy in Caribbean culture and are easily caught in fish traps.
To learn more about the role of parrotfish in coral reef ecosystems, see the BBC News Report - Parrotfish to Aid Reef Repair.
About the Guest Author, Craig Conley
Craig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow
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