Endangered Fish

Bumphead Parrotfish

Scientific Name: Bolbometopon muricatum Fijian Name: ‘kelia’
The Bumphead parrotfish is the largest of all parrotfish, growing to a length of about 1.3m and 46kg in weight. Adults develop a bulbous forehead and their teeth plates are usually exposed. They are herbivorous but tend to graze on a substantial amount of live coral, and in doing so, also contribute to the bio-erosion of reefs. This species is slow-growing, long-living and has a delayed reproduction stage and slow replenishment rate. Despite having a wide range, their population has been on a decline throughout their range due to heavy exploitation. Over harvesting threatens its survival and its numbers are heading towards extinction.

Bumphead parrotfish are commonly found in the day in coral reef habitats, especially in fringing or barrier reefs around depths of 3—10m. At night, they usually sleep in groups on shallow sandy bottoms or in caves, making them very vulnerable to stressors. The juveniles are usually found in seagrass beds in the lagoons. It is a valuable commodity in the live fish trade but catches have decreased dramatically over the years because of the divers taking advantage of its behaviour of sleeping in reefs in the night.

The Humphead Wrasse

Scientific Name: Cheilinus undulatus Fijian Name: ‘varivoce’
The adult Humphead wrasse develops a prominent hump on the forehead and has thick lips. Like the bumphead parrotfish, they are also slow growing and long living, they have a delayed reproduction rate and low productivity. The species is a protogynous-hermophrodite with female-to-male sex change, which makes it more susceptible to overfishing, compared to species that do not have any sex change at all.

The Humphead wrasse has a patchy distribution pattern, with adults often found at the outer reef slope, channel slopes and lagoon reefs at water depths ranging from 3—100m. Adults do not move much over a given patch of reef but periodically move to local spawning aggregation sites where they concentrate at certain times of the year that correspond with certain lunar phases. Juveniles tend to prefer a more hidden existence.

As in the case of the Bumphead parrotfish, the Humphead wrasse population has been threatened too by overharvesting and loss of habitats of juveniles through coral reef destruction and other disturbances.