Parrotfish
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Sunday August 26, 2012

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This photo by Tony Rath

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Tony Rath
Editorial, assignment & stock photography from Belize. Pictures, images and photos of nature, people, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker & San Igacio, Cayo. Tony Rath is a professional photographer based along the shore of the Caribbean Sea in the picturesque town of Dangriga, Belize. He is a trained marine biologist and has worked as a diver and underwater photographer for the Smithsonian Institution; diving on oil rigs off California; and captaining a sailboat across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Mediterranean and North Seas. He founded, along with his wife Therese, Naturalight Productions, Belize's premiere Internet marketing company. He now leads the special projects division of the company. The company created and manages numerous award winning websites.
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Parrotfish

This fish species is so important to our reef system, they help control algae populations and clear new spots for baby coral to attach and grow. This is a natural process call Bioerosion. Protecting our Parrotfish helps protect our reef. Without them, algae and seaweed would overpopulate our corals and suffocate them. Without Parrotfish, our coral reefs may die. On the IUCN Red List, many Parrotfish species are list as threatened, and face a high risk of regional extinction. Here in Belize, Parrotfish are protected, a great step in the right direction to protect our reef systems and our Jewel.

A fascinating and vital group of fish, who spend up to 90% of their day feeding upon the algae in coral reefs. A Parrotfish is Diurnal, meaning they are awake during the day. At night, they coat themselves in a mucous cocoon to mask their scent and protect them from predators. Parrotfish have teeth compactly set together to form a beak, as well as down their throats as part of their digestive system. A single Parrotfish can produce up to a Ton of sand in a year. A Parrotfish needs to feed on the algae on coral reef constantly to help file their teeth down, otherwise their teeth will continue to grow.

Photograph by Anna Williams

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