There are many amazing things about the parrotfish, not least of which, its poop makes the best beaches. No, really.
Parrotfishes are found throughout the indo-pacific, which comprises the Indian Ocean and Western and Central Pacific. They get their name from their 2 rows of fused teeth, which look like a beak.
And those teeth help them chew algae that grows on coral. This results in the fish ingesting the coral’s calcium carbonate, which causes it to poop out sand.
When calcium carbonate mixes with acid, it fizzes and creates a lot of gas. But parrotfishes don’t have stomachs, so they don’t have the acid ingredient. Instead, they just grind up the calcium carbonate with their teeth and shoot it out their backend. And a single parrotfish poops out about 800 lbs of sand per year. But it’s all for a good cause
Algae is actually a threat to corals, as it steals its light. So the parrotfish gets rid of the stuff. But parrotfishes have a few more tricks up their sleeve
Since they’re deep sleepers, parrotfishes need protection against predators. So before they nod off, they secrete a bag of mucus that they sleep in, which likely keeps predators from smelling them.
And when they wake up they eat their bag of goo for breakfast.
Another cool thing about the parrotfish is its ability to change its gender. They’re all born female and form into a single gender school. Once they’ve matured, the biggest female will turn into a male and take the lead. He then takes on the male role and manages the female parrotfishes and chases off rival males.
If that wasn’t weird enough, some species are also chameleonic but only when they’re babies. That’s right, tropical species of parrotfishes have been observed to change their color to mimic other fish, primarily as a defense mechanism. This ability disappears when they grow up.
What a crazy creature.