Life Story/Reproduction~
    What crazy things have happened in their lifetime? Where do baby
    parrotfish come from?

Life Story- What crazy things happen in their lifetime?
Parrotfish are known for being protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that although they start out as either male or female when they age the females may become males! Parrotfish start out life with both of the male and female reproductive parts! The ability to change their sex is an assurance that no matter what the females will have a male to reproduce with and continue on the life cycle.

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clip ArtJuvenile parrotfish are generally a plain dark color. They are patterned in one of three ways: striped, bullseye, or altogether dark. At this point in their lives the parrotfish tries to find a school/group to fit into. This is very important for their safety because they are less likely to be victims when in a group of individuals. The reasoning behind this is that predators get confused at which individual parrotfish to go after. When finding a group they look for fish that look like themselves because if you are the odd one out you will be a predator's target! Fish with stripes hang out with other fish with stripes, those with bullseyes find others with that pattern, and those that are only colored dark either go with the striped or other dark fish. Larger juveniles tend to swim in larger groups with the other larger fish. Small fish swim with those matching their size or with the medium sized fish. Group sizes range from three members to eleven members. Most often juveniles join groups with three to five members, even though they have for protection with more members. They most likely do this because then there is less competition for food.

After the juvenile stage parrotfish become initial adults. Their color pattern changes along with their statusPhoto taken by Jaroslaw Barski change. Female adults are a reddish brown color with white spots leading to the tail and red marks surrounding the mouth. Females may turn into males at this point, some do, but not all. The largest females turn into the terminal stage of the parrotfish's life which is the supermale! Supermale adults have blue bodies with yellow/orange centers; this specific coloration shows that they are now male and attracts the females to them.

Reproduction- Where do baby parrotfish come from?
Only adults are able to reproduce, whether they are in their initial or terminal phase. When the act of spawning occurs, often at dusk, a group of females will gather together to lay their eggs. The adult males then fertilize the eggs. In the case of the supermales; they often attract a group of females in which they are the only ones to fertilize the eggs in their group. All the eggs are laid purposefully in an area where they will be taken by the ocean currents. This is to make sure that they are distributed far, so that their species is in many areas.

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