Species Profiles: Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Vertebrates and Invertebrates Pacific Ocean Region. Report 5. The Parrotfishes, Family Scaridae
HAWAII INST OF MARINE BIOLOGY KANEOHE
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Parrot fishes inhabit coral reefs of the worlds tropical seas. They may usually be identified by the fused teeth forming a massive beak which is used in rasping the substratum for food materials. Parrot fishes are primarily herbivorous, feeding on microalgal resources. Once ingested all food passes to the pharyngeal mill, which is equipped with a set of opposing teeth that grind and pulverize all food materials. In feeding, parrotfishes ingest considerable carbonate material resulting in the production of 400 to 2,000 kg of calcium carbonate material hectare year. Thus these fishes are important in the production and redistribution of sediments on reefs. Studies suggest that parrotfishes play an important role in maintaining benthic community structure in their normal field densities, hence they are considered to be keystone species on coral reefs. Parrotfish are caught and consumed by many fisherman. It is suggested that conservation and management of these important fishery resources are probably best carried out by incorporating modern concepts with traditional management strategies developed by the local indigenous culture.
- Biological Oceanography