Creature Feature 12/31/13 Revealed: Midnight Parrotfish!

Happy New Year! We are excited to bring you another year of creature features, MSI events, and stewardship ideas. Let’s start with the Midnight Parrotfish, Scarus coelestinus. This parrot fish comes in blue or black. Their heads lack scales, and feature a blue band between the eyes. These fish live in tropical coral reefs in places like Bermuda, Florida, and Brazil.

The Midnight Parrotfish feed on algae growing on the coral reefs. Parrotfish get their name from their specially adapted teeth, which look like a parrot’s beak. This adaptation (a physical characteristic or behavior that helps an organism survive), helps the fish to scrape algae from the coral. This is an important ecological function because if there were no parrotfish, the algae could grow so thick that it would suffocate the coral.

With this New Year upon us and all the Creature Feature post we have created so far, why not have your students create an MSI Creature Feature ABC Book! This activity is great for K-3rd grades. Give each of your students a letter of the alphabet and have them choose a marine creature that starts with that letter. They can draw, print out, or color in the animal. Once they have created a picture, they can write some fun facts on the sheet. Once every student has completed their page you can make photocopies and create booklets for every student. If you do not have a way to make copies or create books and you live in the San Francisco Bay area, no problem! Check out Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT) at www.raft.net 

References:

http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=605

http://species-identification.org/species.php?species_group=caribbean_diving_guide&id=246

http://www.coexploration.org/bbsr/coral/html/parrotfish.html

http://coralreef.noaa.gov/education/educators/resourcecd/activities/resources/elementary_sa.pdf

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