Volume 4    Number 4

Colorful Coral-Eater:
The Princess Parrotfish

I love underwater photography. I'm still amazed how hard it can be to take good pictures of fish underwater. First, you need to get close to the fish. Getting close can be difficult. To get really close, a diver needs to be really cool, otherwise the fish gets scared and swims away.

This picture shows a Princess Parrotfish. The Princess Parrotfish is common, found near the tropical reefs throughout the Caribbean. Like other Parrotfish, the Princess Parrotfish gets its name from its mouth. Its mouth is a hard beak that resembles the beak of a parrot. The Princess Parrotfish eats algae and corals. It uses its beak to scrape algae from the rocks and corals. It can even break off a piece of the coral skeleton to eat the coral animals.

The Princess Parrotfish is a medium-sized Parrotfish. Only 10 inches long, it is not as big as the Stoplight Parrotfish, another common Caribbean Parrotfish.

The Princess Parrotfish is identified by two blue stripes above and below its eye, and also by the bright yellow spot under its pectoral fin on its side. Look closely, and you can see the clear pectoral fin covering this yellow spot. The Princess Parrotfish swims by rowing with its pectoral fins. It uses its tail to steer.

This picture also shows the beautiful coral reef near Grand Turk. On the left is a large Sea Fan Coral, and behind the Parrotfish is a tall Sea Rod Coral. In the distance are several stony corals, possibly Star Corals.



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