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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Parrotfish (Scaridae family)

Parrotfish (Scaridae family) by John Scarlett

Komodo National Park, Indonesia
by John Scarlett, Austin, Texas, USA

Colorful parrotfish are abundant in shallow, tropical waters worldwide. Using beak-like front
teeth, they feed by scraping algae from reefs. Small pieces of coral are consumed along with
the algae and are pulverized by pharyngeal teeth in their throats. Undigested coral is then excreted
as sand. Protecting parrotfish is a way of saving coral reefs from being over-grown with seaweed.

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