Parrotfish are so named for their vivid colors and beaklike shaped dentition. The beak is created from the fusion of their front teeth that protrude from their lips.
Parrotfish are long, spindle-like fish, with large round scales, and reach a length of between 40-70 centimeters. They display a broad palette of colors from a uniform reddish brown to dazzling combinations of turquoise, pink, red, blue and green. Usually the young and the females have the less striking colors, while colors of the male are far more impressive.
Most of the parrotfish are born as females and over their life span change their sex to become males. At the time of the sex change their colors also change.
The parrotfish are active during the day, moving in shoals along the length of the reef. Towards evening, the fish separate from the shoal and each fish finds a secluded shelter. The fish cocoon their bodies in a layer of slime which acts as protection against predators and parasites.
Parrotfish are herbivores, feeding mainly upon the algae covering the rocks and corals. The parrotfish break off pieces of stone or coral easily with their strong beaks, digest the organic material and expel the inorganic material as a fine dust. This process has great ecological significance as the parrotfish are one of the most important calcareous sediment creators on the reef. Some of the parrotfish reproduce in a group, assembling together in a one area and then releasing eggs and sperm into the water. Other parrotfish reproduce as a couple – the male parading his brilliant colors circles the female, and then both dart together to the surface of the water, simultaneously releasing eggs and sperm.
The plankton eggs drift with the sea currents.
Ten species of parrotfish have been identified in the Gulf of Eilat.
A diverse and very colorful family, most of the wrasses are commonly found in tropical and subtropical zones. Many of them are reef, coral or rocky shore dwellers, and feed mainly on dead tissue. Some members of the wrasse family also eat algae which they scrape off the stones with their many sharp teeth. Some […]
Sea urchins are active at night, during the day they hide in the rocks. Sea urchins have round or flat bodies and no limbs or tentacles. The plates on its body fuse to create a permanent rigid frame. Their bodies are covered with spines which are able to move, and claw shaped structures (pedicellaria) which […]
Trunk fish are clumsy bodied, slow swimmers, and can be found between rocks and seaweed surfaces in shallow water.
Their bodies are relatively short, and wrapped in armor, giving them a square box-like shape, which is the reason for their name.
Their armor is constructed from interconnected tablets which surround their entire body. They have a pointy head that culminates in a short beak with a mouth on the end, and their teeth, which are fused to a short base, are covered by their lips. They have soft skin at the base of their fins, and this enables their movement, which is slow. These types of fish do not have a uniform color; some are yellow with light spots, some are purple with black spots, and others are yellowish gray with light blue spots.
Trunk fish have yellow fins, and range in length from 12-14 cm.
The pattern of a young trunk fish is different to that of an adult; the younger fish have fewer, but larger, spots.
When they are threatened, trunk fish secrete poisonous mucus all over the body. This mucus is produced in the intestines by bacteria, and is stored in the liver.
Trunk fish feed on seaweed, mollusks and worms, which they remove from the rocks with their strong beaks.
During the breeding season, some females gather in the male area, and lay their eggs.
The Thornback Trunk Fish
This fish is a member of the trunk fish family; it lives near sandy seabed areas, or in areas covered with vegetation, up to a depth of 30 meters. It body is armor plated in a triangular shape, and it feeds on mollusks living close to the seabed.
Distinctive markings: triangular shaped armored body with no abdominal fin.
Its gill openings are small cracks under the eyes.
Morays are members of the eel family.
This is an elongated snake – like fish without scales, and a high dorsal fin in the rear section of its body that unites with its tail.
The front of its head is short, and it has a large mouth opening that is wider than its eyes. It has small, sharp, strong teeth, and small breathing spiracles.
It lives in niches in shallow reefs, and is active at dusk and at night, hiding in the niches during the day with only its head protruding from its hideaway. There are several species of morays, and they usually grow to a length of between 30cm and 2m, depending on the species.
They use their sense of smell to find and feed on fish, mollusks and crustaceans.
They follow groupers, turkey/lion fish, and octopuses, to catch the fish that escape from them.
Some change their sex from female to male, while others have both ovaries and testes, and can function as both female and male.
This is the largest member of the moray family found in the Gulf of Eilat. It has a grey – brown color, with dark orange spots on its body.
This is a member of the moray family, and is the most common moray found in the Gulf of Eilat!!! It has a pinkish, or white-grey color, with a small row of brown dots on its head.
This fish is very quick to defend itself by biting!!!
This is a member of the moray family, and is also known as a garden eel. It lives in sandy surfaces, in dense colonies numbering in the hundreds. It digs the lower third of its body into the sand, well plastered by the mucus secreted from its body, while its front section stands upright in the water.
They feed on the plankton floating in the water column.
When danger approaches, they disappear into their tunnels. They have a silver-greenish hue, a thin body, and reach an adult length of up to 120cm.