Posts Tagged 'parrotfish'

Animal Update – May 9

national aquarium animal update

Stoplight Parrotfish in Atlantic Coral Reef

Two stoplight parrotfish have been added to our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit!

stoplight parrotfish national aquarium

Photo via Flickr user Carl Haupt.

Stoplight parrotfish can be found throughout the tropical waters of the western Atlantic!

Did you know? Parrotfish are herbivores that depend on algae from the reef for sustenance. Their fused teeth help the fish crush coral, which passes through their digestive system and is deposited back on the reef as sand! A parrotfish can produce up to one ton of coral sand a year!

Fairy Basslets in Atlantic Coral Reef

Fairy basslets are small, vibrantly colored fish. With purple fronts and yellow tails, their bodies are split into two colors with a black spot on their dorsal fins.

national aquarium fairy basslet

These fish are known to swim upside-down under ledges and along cave ceilings. They live in colonies and defend their territory from other species (and even other fairy basslets). Male fairy basslets are responsible for guarding and caring for the eggs and the nest!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Update – September 27

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

animal update

Bi-color parrotfish in Blacktip Reef

Did you know? Bi-color parrotfish sleep in bubbles of slime. Before finding their sleeping spot within the reef for the night, the parrotfish spins a cocoon around its body. The slimy bubble protects the parrotfish from nighttime predators by hiding its scent!

national aquarium bicolor parrotfish

Parrotfish get their name from their beak-like teeth and bright coloration. They use their “beaks” to eat the algae that grows on and around coral.

When the coral rock has travel through the parrotfish’s digestive system (which extracts the needed nutrients from the algae), it comes out as sand! A large bi-color parrotfish can produce up to 2,200 pounds of sand per year!

This species is found throughout the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Update – December 14

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

AnimalUpdated_DC

Bicolor Parrotfish

We have a new bicolor parrotfish in our American Samoa exhibit!

bicolor parrotfish

Did you know? Before going to sleep, this species of parrotfish spins a cocoon around its body to hide its scent from potential predators!

Parrotfish get their name from their beak-like teeth and vibrant coloration. Some species, like the bicolor parrotfish, can grow to be up to three feet in length!

They use their “beak” to eat the algae that grows on coral. The parrotfish bites off pieces of coral from the reef, pulverizing it in order to digest the algae growing inside and then excreting the limestone rock. Much of the sand in the areas where parrotfish are found is actually the coral they excrete.

This fun little video explains this “sand making” process: 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_OyfZO3M58]

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Updates – July 20

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

New Parrotfish

Eight princess, striped, and redband parrotfish have been added to our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit.

 

Redband parrotfish in the Atlantic Coral Reef

 

Parrotfish have fused teeth that resemble a bird’s beak—hence their name. The teeth are specialized for scraping algae and invertebrates from coral and rocks. Another set of teeth (pharyngeal teeth) are on the floor and roof of the parrotfishes’ throats. These crush the ingested material.

 

Check out those chompers!

 

New Fish in the Amazon River Forest 

We’ve added tetras, hatchetfish, and plecos to our Amazon River Forest exhibit.

Tetras in the Amazon River Forest

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!


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