Little Known Things that Parrotfish Do to Help our Coral Reefs

parrotfish swing in a coral reef

Who is not fascinated by the beauty of a Parrotfish? These fishes are more than what you think. This species is the key to preserve our coral reefs. The colourful, seaweed-eating, sand-pooping animal, Parrotfish is the heart and soul of coral reefs. Parrotfishes do many things that help us save our coral reefs.

  • Parrotfishes’ diet includes algae and dead coral. They spend up to 22hrs of the day nibbling. In short, they clean the reef. This is a vital activity because reefs can be suffocated by algae.
  • After eating all those greens, they excrete the finest white sand – pounds of it! Each living parrotfish can release up to 320 kilograms of sand every year.
  • They have delightfully garish fashion sense. Parrotfish are a big part of what makes scuba diving so colorful. Each species has a different color scheme, and they change their “outfits” as they go from babies, to adolescents, to adults.
  • Parrotfish can open our minds about the spectrum of sexual orientations. They are proof that heterosexual monogamy is not nature’s status quo. Parrotfish mate in harems and are sequential hermaphrodites, with many changing from female to male as they age. The largest fish (which are unfortunately also the ones most targeted by spearfishing) are male. So fishing that targets the biggest fish takes the males and makes it hard for the species to reproduce.

Whether we like it or not, we, humans are the primary predators, and we are over fishing our seas.

The numbers of Parrotfishes are depleting rapidly. These wonderful creation needs to be left in the water and are not meant for consumption.  A specific study report concluded that reefs where parrotfish were plentiful in the 1980s are the reefs that are fine and healthy now.

People should protect the parrotfish if we want to save the oceans.