Green Humphead Parrotfish picture used with permission


           This species may be threatened but the list of predators is very minimal. Sharks and humans are the only major predators for the Green Humphead Parrotfish (Encyclopedia of life 2009). Many sharks like the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, and Some parrotfish have been known to change colors as they try to defer the predator away (Encyclopedia of life 2009). Commercial fishing as well as spearing fishing are both huge in decreasing the population of this fish (Arkive 2008). Refer to Endangerment page for more details. Some parrotfish eject off a nasty mucus at night to worn off predators, like the shark, while the fish rests (Encyclopedia of life 2009). The mucus is bad smelling and tasting to defer the predator away at night. Some also will hide and rest in caves at night. This slime on some parrotfish can be poisonous for other fish as well as humans if consumed and can be fatal (Encyclopedia of Life 2009). In places like the Bahamas the scales from some types of parrotfish can be used for decoration or artwork (Encyclopedia of life 2009). The Green Humphead Parrotfish can be consumed, but mentioned earlier, the skin and meat can be poisonous to humans.
            In contrast this large fish preys on many other organisms. All parrotfish in general prey on the organisms in these major clades: Porifera, Cnidaria, and Anthozoa (Encyclopedia of life 2009). The main food sources for the Green Humphead Parrotfish are the benthic algae and coral, making them omnivores (Donaldson et al. 2004). The Green Humphead Parrotfish eats about two to five tons of coral per year (Dulvy et al. 2006). The coral and parrotfish have a mutualistic relationship while the parrotfish is getting food by feeding off of the coral the coral is also benefitting because the parrotfish is eating off the algae that is growing on the coral (Encyclopedia of life 2009). By eating the algae off the coral, this keeps the algae from taking over the coral reefs. The coral is a very hard solid substance and takes a special mechanism to be eaten. This being the case the Humphead Parrotfish does not have much for competition for food. Specialized teeth are attached to the top jaw of the fish. These teeth are molded together to make one solid row which looks like a parrot’s beak, hence the name parrotfish (Encyclopedia of life 2009). These teeth are very tough because they have to break down pieces of coral. For a phylogenetic tree showing teeth and jaw modifications please visit our Classification page.The giant hump on the forehead is also very tough as it is used to break apart the coral. There are also teeth in the back of the throat to fully break down the coral for digestion to be able to take place. Not all of the coral sediment is digested leaving some to come out of the feces (Arkive 2008).

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