Interaction with other species

ParrotfishPhoto taken by Julia Wallace are great fish to view when snorkeling. They might be shy at first, but after a short time they act as if you are not even there. They do not mind if you follow them around, watching them eat.

Daisy parrotfish live amongst many fish along the coral reefs. They all seem to live inDamselfish- Photo courtesy of Wikipedia harmony with each other. Do you see the damselfish to the left? Although it might be much smaller than the parrotfish, it has the ability to scare them off, away from their area in the reef. Even though these little fish can not really harm the parrotfish, there exists a natural way of being and when damselfish do not want the parrotfish near them, the parrotfish respects that.

Algae may be the main food source for the adult daisy parrotfish, but that food source is living on top of coral. Parrotfish bite off huge chunks of coral to get out as much algae as possible. Unfortunately, that makes them one of the top predators of coral in these parts of the ocean. Today, we have a problem with the ever receding amounts of coral reefs and parrotfish are just adding to the problem. Not only do they eat parts of the coral, but then they crush it up into sand which clouds the waters around the reefs. This does not mean that the parrotfish should be gotten rid of because without them the whole ecosystem of the reefs would be thrown off. What is also happening while the parrotfish dine on coral is little fish follow the parrotfish fish around eaten the smaller pieces of coral that the they knock off, but do not consume.

Another relationship is occurring on Chlorurus sordidus itself. Parrotfish have a layer, about one millimeter thick, of mucus covering their body. This mucus is a rich source of nitrogen and protein, along with some ectoparasites living in it. The cleaner fish, Labroides dimidiatus, diet consists of this mucus layer and eats off the parasites in it. The cleaner fish gets a great source of nitrogen and protein and the parrotfish gets the parasites eaten away and the mucus layer becomes less dense on their bodies. Since we are talking about mucus, if you visit my Awesome Attributes page you will find another fun fact about their mucus.

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