It's hard to decide which of the colorful parrot fish's many unique characteristics is most remarkable.
There’s its diet, which consists primarily of algae extracted from chunks of coral ripped from a reef. The coral is pulverized with grinding teeth in the fishes’ throats in order to get to the algae-filled polyps inside. Much of the sand in the parrot fish's range is actually the ground-up, undigested coral they excrete.
There's its gender, which they can change repeatedly throughout their lives, and their coloration and patterns, which are a classification nightmare, varying greatly, even among the males, females, and juveniles of the same species.
Average life span in the wild: Up to 7 years
Size: 1 to 4 ft (30 to 120 cm)
Group name: School
Did you know? Some male parrot fish maintain harems of females. If the dominant male dies, one of the females will change gender and color and become the dominant male.
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