Newly published research led by former student Josh Manning shows a strong preference of mulitple common Caribbean parrotfishes for benthic cyanobacterial mats. This research furthers previous work from my lab showing that many Caribbean reef fishes consume benthic cyanobacterial mats, contrary to a previously accepted doctrine of avoidance by herbivorous fish. Additionally, a high proportion of bites by all species targeted substrates characterized by filamentous turfs and crustose coralline algae. These substrates also contain diverse communities of epilithic and endolithic cyanobacteria and microalgae. Our work thus provides direct evidence supporting the recently proposed trophic categorization of parrotfishes as microphages.
Manning, JC and SJ McCoy (2023). Preferential consumption of benthic cyanobacterial mats by Caribbean parrotfishes. Coral Reefs, in press. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-023-02404-5