Meet the Parrotfish
Parrotfish are colorful, tropical creatures that spend about 90% of their day eating algae off coral reefs. This almost-constant eating performs the essential task of cleaning the reefs which helps the corals stay healthy and thriving.
The parrotfishes’ digestive system, which includes more teeth inside their throats, breaks down coral bits into the white sands that make South Pacific beaches famous. Known as bioerosion, this process helps control algae populations and create new surfaces for baby corals to attach to and grow. But just how much sand can a parrotfish produce? Surely it can’t be enough to really make whole beaches? Think again. Scientists estimate that a single Chlorurus
There are about 60 species of parrotfish that live in reefs all around the world, but they all generally live about 5-7 years and grow to 1-4 feet in length. They typically feed during the day and sleep—by wrapping themselves in a safety cocoon made of mucus or by finding a hiding place in the coral—at night.
Protecting the Parrotfish
Coral reefs face a lot of threats, of course – from climate change to pollution to invasive species. Restoring parrotfish populations, herbivores that keep seaweed in check on the
In the South Pacific, this is largely due to overfishing of
The Nature Conservancy is addressing the problem by partnering with other organizations to make the public aware of the consequences of eating parrotfish.
Learn more about Pass On Parrotfish, TNC’s campaign to raise awareness about protecting parrotfish in order to keep our reefs healthy and thriving.