Do you know that Maldivian sand beaches are made of parrotfish poop ? Yes, parrot fish have continuously growing fused teeth that formed a parrot-like beak. This beak is used for biting and scraping the dead coral from the Indian ocean. Additional teeth in their throat help the parrotfish to reduce corals to dust. Because they do not have stomach, the coral dust is excreted as sand helping to create new islands in the Maldives. Parrot fish can produce up to 90kgs of sand every year !
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Clownfish (Anemonfish) aggressively defends its territory. It is totally dependent on the sea anemone which represents its “life insurance” as shelter for his nest. The association that binds the clownfish and the sea anemone is called mutualism. The clownfish lives inside the sea anemone’s tentacles and use it as a refuge.
The sea anemone protects the clownfish from predators while the presence of the clownfish lures to attract potential prey close to the anemone tentacles; Clownfish also defends the anemone against reef fishes such as butterfly fish able to eat anemones tentacles.The Clownfish body has developed a thin layer of mucus which envelops its body as a protection against the anemone’s tentacles.
The whale shark is the largest known existing fish species. The whale shark is the largest non-cetacean animal in the world. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 m and a weight of approximately 21.5 tons (47,000 lb). Claims of whale sharks over 14 meters long and weighing at least 30 tons (66,000 lb) are frequent. The whale shark holds many records and especially for being by far the largest living non mammalian vertebrate.
The whale shark is found in abundance in Maldivian waters and most specifically in South Ari Atoll . Whale Shark has a lifespan of approximately 70 years. Whale sharks feed mainly on plankton, krill, macroalgae, small squid or vertebrates using their large mouth as a filter.Despite its size, the whale sharks are very friendly fishes. Whale sharks are quiet fish and sometimes allow swimmers to catch a ride.
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Among all Maldivian turtles, Green sea turtles are the ones living the longer life. It takes between 20 and 50 years to reach sexual maturity and a vigorous individual can expect to live 80-100 years and even more! A lot is still unknown about life and habits of green sea turtles.
Mantas visit “cleaning stations” on coral reefs for the removal of parasites. The rays stop close to the coral surface and stand still for few minutes while waiting for the cleaning fishes & shrimps to come eat all parasites.The same “Cleaning station” can be used by different aquatic creatures such as rays, turtles, fishes …
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Other interesting and quite unknown fact about Mantas rays ; They sometimes jump partially or entirely out of the water. In a group, each Manta ray will jump one after the other, reaching 3 meters in the air and plummeting back into the water with a loud splash. Attempt to fly, mating rituals, communication, parasites removal, games…??? Mantas rays reasons for breaching are still unknown nowadays.
Flying fish can be seen frequently jumping out of the warm Maldivian waters. Flying fishes can travel a distance of 50 meters out the water though they can use updrafts and cover distances up to 400 meters. They can fly at speed of more than 70 km/h and and reach an altitude of 6 meters above the surface. It is very common in Maldives to have Flying fishes landing on boats’ decks!Scientifics suggest that flying fishes fins and bodies adapted and evolved in order to escape predators such as tunas, dolphins.
Maldives is probably the best place in the world to see dolphins in their natural habitat. 23 different types of dolphins and whales have been in the Maldivian water.
It is well-known that dolphins are very intelligent, socials and playful animals but did you know that they sleep by resting one side of the brain at a time. This allows them to continue going up to the surface for air and to keep an eye open to watch out for threats.
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