Windspree Vacation Homes St John USVI

Snorkeling St John with the Amazing Parrotfish

Author: Windspree Vacation Homes 

Snorkeling St John and the Amazing Parrotfish

There are over 90 different species of Parrotfish around the world, (and many around St. John island) found in relatively shallow tropical and subtropical oceans.  One of the most decorative is the Rainbow Parrotfish (pictured). 

Parrotfish1Nearly all species of parrotfish are sequential hermaphrodites.  In other words, parrotfish start out as females ("the initial phase") and then later change to males (the terminal phase").

Parrotfish are largely responsible for the fine white sand found on the beaches of the Bahamas and the Caribbean.  While breaking off bits of coral and rocky substrates for algae, parrotfish grind up the coral rock with their teeth and excrete it as a fine sand Just one parrotfish can produce almost 200 pounds of sand each year!

parrotfish-national-geographicWhile snorkelling around St. John, look for the white choppers of the parrotfish by listening for the sound of their tell tale crunch.

parrotfish-mucus-sleepingbag At night, parrotfish actually belch out their own mucus to form a membrane that protects them while they sleep.  Not from the big jaws of hungry eels, but rather the self netting process protects the sleeping fish from tiny hungry parasites.  According to National Geographic, reef fish are attacked at night by tiny blood-sucking crustaceans called gnathiid isopods. During the day, cleaner fish help to keep these pests at bay, but they don’t work at night. So when darkness falls, the fish wrap themselves in a 'mosquito net' of their own making.


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