Parrot Fish Koh Tao
Learn about Parrot Fish on Koh Tao
Parrot Fish on Koh Tao are one of the most colourful and commonly seen marine life species and they are a reef grazer that spends 90% of their day eating algae off the reef and keeping the reef clean.
Reef grazing conducted by this beautiful fish keeps the reef clean, which contributes to coral growth and helps marine life to thrive, which makes the Parrotfish one of the most important species within the reef ecosystem.
Where to find the Parrot Fish on Koh Tao
Parrotfish are seen at almost all the dive sites on Koh Tao and many other shallow locations when snorkeling, which is a good indicator of a healthy Coral reef.
We often see larger groups of Parrotfish at Twins pinnacle, especially around the shallow pinnacle and at other shallow reef locations such as Tanote Bay, Aow Leuk and Mango Bay.
It is not unusual to witness huge social gatherings of Parrot fish all grazing together in large groups and moving from one area of the reef to the next.
How to identify the Parrot Fish
Parrot fish have thick heavy bodies with large scales and their body color is commonly a turquoise blue, green, with some Parrot fish presenting with a full rainbow color set.
Parrot fish have acquired their name from the two front teeth they have, which are fused together to form a beak-type shape resembling the mouth of a parrot.
They have a second set of teeth that have evolved and are positioned at the bottom and top of their throat, which are known as Pharyngeal teeth and these are perfect for grinding and crushing any ingested coral and crustaceans.
Huge schools of Parrot fish can be seen working in unison like an aquatic herd of cattle and they are a highly social species who will swim close to scuba divers and snorkelers, as they go about their daily reef duties.
Parrot Fish Characteristics & Behavior
Parrot fish are similar to its close relative the Wrasse, which mostly uses its pectoral fins to swim around with rather than its tail.
Their Omnivorous diet mainly consists of algae and coral polyps however, they will eat any crustaceans that get in their way of feeding time.
Parrot Fish are Omnivorous
The lifetime of Parrot fish is believed to be as long as 14 years and their size can range up to a metre in length approximately.
Parrot fish are a very social species so they live in a harem with one dominant male that leads the females and he is known as the supermale.
When this supermale dies, one of the female parrot fish will change sex and take the place of the dominant male.
Interesting facts about the Parrot Fish
Parrot fish have a very unconventional way of producing sand through their diet, which mainly consists of algae and breaking down large pieces of coral.
Coral is ground up and exits the body of the Parrot fish as sand particles and one single Parrot fish can be responsible for the production of one (1) ton of sand a year.
Parrot fish teeth are made up of a material known as Fluorapatite, which is known to be one of the strongest biominerals in the world and harder than gold, copper and silver.
Sand Particles and Parrot Fish
Parrot fish can produce a mucus layered bubble that is blown up from their mouth, which creates a sleeping chamber at night.
Scientists are still trying to establish if it is to mask their scent from nocturnal predators whilst they sleep, or to create an alarm system that bursts and awakens the fish if a predator comes too close.