1. Parrotfish — like their close kin, the wrasses — use their paired set of pectoral fins primarily to swim, with an occasional flick of the tail fin for a burst of speed.
2. Measuring more than four feet in length and weighing in at 100 pounds, bumphead parrotfish from the Indo-Pacific are the family's largest member.
3. When bedding down for the night, a few species enshroud their bodies in mucus bubbles blown from their mouths (as in the photo here). The translucent nightgowns protect the slumbering fish from bloodsucking parasites and predators.
4. The fused-beak structure, which is the origin of the parrotfish's common name, can often be found while beachcombing.
5. Many divers first notice parrotfish because of their rather unpleasant habit of eliminating clouds of waste while swimming. Seventy-five percent of the material is reef rock incidentally ingested while hunting for filamentous algae.
6. Sunbathers beware! Much of the crystal white sand forming tropical beaches is former parrotfish poop: After digesting coral rock, it's excreted as sand.
7. With the loss of a harem's dominant male, the group's largest female will, in a matter of weeks, change sex, which confers a gaudy new coat and the exclusive right to mate with the remaining ladies.