The earliest occupation, Phase II, shows a slightly more pronounced reliance on reef herbivores, primarily parrotfish and surgeonfish
If you think the term "reef fish" applies only to those dainty butterfly fish you see in aquariums, you might be interested to know that surgeonfish
, sea chubs, unicornfish, porgy, and other weird, good-eating ocean fish commonly break the 10pound mark.
Stimulated by the onset of a moonless night in the South Pacific, the surgeonfish
cluster, rise, bump, then drop back to the reef, disperse, circle, regroup, rise again.
By the time the count-down has reached one, the left-hand page shows a small framed surgeonfish
(its partner having met its fate) while the righthand page introduces `one lonely lionfish' swimming in its ocean home; the drawing of this fish is somewhat personified as it looks down at the mouth and utterly miserable.
The list of finned visitors hailing from tropical locales is long: butterflyfish, angelfish, triggerfish, grouper, squirrelfish, surgeonfish
Spotfin lionfish, palette surgeonfish
, foxface rabbitfish and red firefish are sequestered in their own venomous creatures tank.
The official publication of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors described the island as replete with a continuous chain of underwater life with hard and soft corals attracting reef fish like snappers, surgeonfish
, damselfish, parrotfish, anemone fish and wrasse, which in turn invite large species like barracuda, tuna, white tip and blacktip, turtles and manta rays.
Sandin hypothesizes that removing large reef residents such as sharks, parrot fish and surgeonfish
can clear the way for smaller herbivores to proliferate, because of decreased predation and competition.
The Acanthuridae or surgeonfish
are distributed in tropical and subtropical oceans.
Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies has found weed-eaters like parrotfish and surgeonfish
can only keep coral reefs clear of weed up to a point.
Species that frequent the area include surgeonfish
, triggerfish (Balistidae), small carangids, porcupinefish, sea chubs, goatfish, parrotfish and puffers.