Animal Update - December 14

Published December 14, 2012

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we're bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what's going on... here's what's new this week!

AnimalUpdated_DC

Bicolor Parrotfish

We have a new bicolor parrotfish in our American Samoa exhibit!

bicolor parrotfish

Did you know? Before going to sleep, this species of parrotfish spins a cocoon around its body to hide its scent from potential predators!

Parrotfish get their name from their beak-like teeth and vibrant coloration. Some species, like the bicolor parrotfish, can grow to be up to three feet in length!

They use their "beak" to eat the algae that grows on coral. The parrotfish bites off pieces of coral from the reef, pulverizing it in order to digest the algae growing inside and then excreting the limestone rock. Much of the sand in the areas where parrotfish are found is actually the coral they excrete.

This fun little video explains this "sand making" process: 

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

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