It’s hard to know which of its unique characteristics makes the bi-colour parrotfish (Cetoscarus ocellatus cf. bicolour) so remarkable. It’s currently the season for juveniles on the reefs in Baa Atoll and we love seeing these bright fish hiding in our corals!
Is it the way they eat? Parrotfish have a very strong fused beak (like a parrot), they feed on the algae growing on dead coral and on zooxanthellae living in symbiosis within the corals. You can often hear a scraping sound when snorkeling, this is the parrotfish having a meal. When they have finished digesting all the crushed coral has to go somewhere, they excrete this and the newly formed sand makes our beaches so beautiful.
Is it the way they change gender? Bi-colour parrotfish undergo sequential hermaphroditism (they do WHAT?!). When they reach maturity they become female (known as the initial phase) and then later in life can change to be male (the terminal phase). When the dominant male on a reef dies, one of the females will change into a male.
Is it the way they change colour? The juvenile bi-colour, has a brilliant white and orange pattern (photo above) but as they get older and become female they change colour to a dark brown with a large cream patch on the upper part of the body. When they change into males they become quite flamboyant pinks and greens (photo below).
Is it their size? Bi-colour parrotfish can grow upto 88cm (3ft) in length! Making them one of the largest parrotfish on the reef. Their size also helps when they are feeling territorial to keep other fish away.
To discover more about our amazing reef fish visit: www.soneva.com