Ember parrotfish

An Ember Parrotfish swims by off the Big Island.

This ember parrotfish is one of several kinds of parrotfish to be seen around here. They scrape algae from the rocks, which is the reason for the dark stains around its beak. This fish is in its ‘initial’ phase and will later turn a beautiful blue-green.

Parrotfish are often trailed by a smaller wrasse of some kind, in this case, a Christmas wrasse. It’s there to snap up any small creatures dislodged by the larger fish’s grazing.

In my attempts to identify what I see in the water, I use John P. Hoover’s book The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, and Seals. His website is hawaiisfishes.com.

An Ember Parrotfish is trailed by a Christmas Wrasse off the Big Island.