Gigantic beautiful fish creates the sand on our tropical beaches
The underwater world of Papua New Guinea is mysterious and beautiful beyond description. There are thousands of species of coral that thrive and provide shelter for an abundance of marine creatures. By day, the reef is alive with movement and color. Fish and animals make their way over the corals in search of food. By night, this same reef is even more mysterious. Many creatures that can be seen in the daylight will be hiding or sleeping and other creatures emerge.
These scuba divers were exploring a dive site near Kimbe Bay, while aboard the MV FeBrina, a luxurious liveabord dive boat that operates out of Walindi Resort. The divers had descended to approximately 65 feet but they were finishing their dive on a shallower coral head when they came across this enormous rainbow parrot fish sleeping under a coral outcropping.
The gorgeous fish was very still, and despite, having its eyes open, it was resting and not responding to the approaching diver. Parrot fish will often sleep in crevices where they are safer from predators. But to provide even more safety, they sometimes form a mucous bubble around themselves to prevent predators such as moray eels from detecting them.
This fish allowed a very close look and didn't seem aware of the divers. They approached slowly and smoothly to avoid startling the fish. After a few moments, they moved on so they would not disturb this beautiful animal.
The parrot fish got its name due to the fused front teeth that resemble a parrot's beak. The teeth are large and prominent and they allow the fish to scrape algae from the coral. Their feeding habits are actually loud enough to be heard constantly all around while divers are underwater.
The parrotfish devour coral and pulverize it with teeth in their throat, digesting the algae filled polyps and excreting the ground up coral. Amazingly, it is this excretion that makes up most of the sand that we find on tropical beaches and ocean bottoms.