Enchanting El Nido episode 8 – giant trevally, scad, bumphead parrotfish

A voracious predator of fishes, the giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis) is the largest species of jackfish, growing to over a meter in length and prized as an angling fish for its fighting ability. They are supersonic swimmers of the open ocean and outer reefs, and are primarily pelagic. The Miniloc Resort House Reef is actually one of the only places in the Indo-Pacific where you can be assured of seeing these amazing animals on a regular basis.

At dusk, the giant trevally can usually be seen making rapid swimming passes through the school of ox-eye scads (Selar crumenophthalmus) at the Miniloc Resort House Reef, attempting to eat individuals. Though not a particularly colorful fish, the ox-eye scad is nonetheless very impressive when encountered in large schools of hundreds to thousands of individuals, including the resident school off the Miniloc Resort lagoon. They may not look it, and they may not particularly act it, but the giant trevally and the ox-eye scad are actually relatives, belonging to the same family Carangidae.

They may have the name of a bird, but parrotfishes most certainly belong in the sea. They got their name from their teeth, which have been fused into powerful beaks for rasping filamentous algae from the external skeletons of dead corals. The bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) is the largest among the parrotfishes and is actually one of the largest reef fishes around, growing to a maximum size of over one a half meters in length. As with other parrotfishes, the bumphead parrotfish begins its adult life as a female, then later grows into a mature male with the characteristic bony protuberance on its forehead. Bumpheads can usually be found in large, noisy herds of 10 to 100 individuals that graze on algae on coral rock. While feeding, they ingest large amounts of calcium carbonate which they later defecate as crushed, white coral sand. In one year, a single parrotfish can convert as much as five tons of coral into sand, generating most of the sand associated with tropical reefs and beaches.

(Yes, the fine white sand prized by tourists is actually parrotfish poop!)

Rima de Dios
Miniloc Island Resort Environmental Officer

Fish footage:
University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute
(shot in South Miniloc and Miniloc Front dive sites)

Opening animation:
Stompworks Studios

Produced by:
El Nido Resorts
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

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