parrotfish


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parrotfish,

common name for a member of a large group of colorful reef fishes of warm seas, resembling the wrasseswrasse
, common name for a member of the large family Labridae, brilliantly colored fishes found among rocks and kelp in tropical seas. Wrasses, related to the parrotfishes (which are included in the wrasse family by some authorities), feed on mollusks and are equipped with
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 but of a larger size. Long considered a separate family, Scaridae, they are now grouped as a subfamily, Scarinae, of Labridae (the wrasse family) by some authorities. Parrotfishes, also called pollyfishes, are so named for their powerful cutting-edged beaks, formed of fused incisorlike jaw teeth. With these they scrape from the surface of coral, algae, polyps, and other small plant and animal life upon which they feed. Parrotfishes also have a set of grinding teeth, located in the throat in front of the esophagus, with which they further break up their food to prepare it for the action of digestive enzymes. Common in Florida waters are the rainbow parrotfish, Scarus guacamaia, the largest (up to 3 ft/91 cm) of the family; the red and blue parrotfishes; and the queen parrotfish, or oldwife. Parrotfishes are not valued in the United States as food except in Hawaii, where they are very popular and were once taboo (to be touched only by royalty). Parrotfishes occasionally cause illness in humans, fatal to a small percentage of consumers. Known as ciguatera, it is caused by eating fish that have ciguatoxins, acquired as a result of feeding on dinoflagellates or on fish that have fed on them. Many reef fish species, especially larger fish, can cause such poisoning. Parrotfishes are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Scaridae or family Labridae.

parrotfish

1. any brightly coloured tropical marine percoid fish of the family Scaridae, having parrot-like jaws
2. Austral any of various brightly coloured marine fish of the family Labridae
3. any of various similar fishes
References in periodicals archive ?
Using the teeth inside its throat, the parrotfish grinds up coral and algae to eat.
But there are also areas with no corals, such as seagrass beds and mangrove forests, that are important habitats for the babies of some parrotfish species.
Spatial patterns of aggression, territory size, and harem size in five sympatric Caribbean parrotfish species.
Like most of the town's itinerant denizens, I spent the brownout hours swimming with parrotfish and picnicking on a flash of white sand.
Bright corals and vivid nudibranchs provide the perfect backdrop for the wealth of colourful marine life, with every species imaginable in residence; from giant double-headed parrotfish, yellowtail fusiliers and sea turtles, to eagle rays, black-tipped reef sharks and barracudas.
I went snorkeling in Bali and saw a lot of parrotfish, which is one of my main embellishments," she says.
In 1999 there were only medium-sized fishes, but ten years later it's full of large parrotfish, groupers, snappers and even sharks.
As we spied barracudas, rays, and brightly colored schools of parrotfish, I tried to forget where I was--underwater.
Eighty-eight percent of fishermen mentioned that they harvested reef fish species such as yellowtail, mutton and lane snappers, porgy, parrotfish, hogfish, and grunts; 39% said they targeted deepwater snappers such as silk snapper; 30% reported that they caught pelagic species such as dolphinfish and king mackerel; and 31% said that they targeted baitfish such as ballyhoo, Hemiramphus brasiliensis; and herring.
The fish caught are often from families including Emperor, Rabbitfish and Parrotfish that migrate between coral reef, mangrove and seagrass habitats.
Out of the water surged a giant parrotfish with a mouth like a gaping cave and a beak as sharp as spiraling coral.
A brief free-dive below the water might fill your ears with the soundtrack of parrotfish munching on the hard rock coral or the song of distant humpback whales.