When diving around the beautiful coral reef surrounding Koh Tao you will frequently come across parrot fish which you may hear before you see.
Not only are these fish beautiful with every colour of the rainbow but they are also very important to the survival of our reef. The grinding noise you will frequently hear while diving is most likely originating from the gnawing from parrot fish feeding off algae covering the coral. They are especially adapted to this task with their numerous teeth tightly packed which continuously grow as they are worn down. The result of which gives them a beak-like appearance, the reason for their name – Parrot fish.
By feeding on algae growing on the coral they are integral in managing the spread of algae, preventing it from choking the coral. Other rocky substrates they feed on are also ground down, digested and excreted as sand. This has helped to create beaches of many tropical islands as one parrot fish can produce up to 90kg of sand every year!
So next time you’re lying on a tropical beach in paradise just take a moment to think about the journey that sand has been on!