Good morning all, I have a new “coral problem” for you all today that I found last Thursday out on our house reef.
See the little damselfish in the middle of the coral head? He did this damage on purpose to this beautiful endangered Staghorn coral, it’s called a Damselfish Garden. My friend Nick who is a coral expert explains below just what you’re looking at, it’s very interesting so read on.
Nick writes, the story with the damselfish is that they find a bit of coral they like and peck off the living coral tissue. The exposed skeleton becomes overgrown with algae that the damsel fish like to eat. The fish defend these little farm territories so aggressively that they will even chase off larger herbivores like parrotfish that would quickly clear away the algae (I have definitely had them bite my fingers while working with the corals & once had one hit me right between the eyes good thing I had a facemask on). Apparently with the decline of larger predatory fish on reefs worldwide, these little guys have become much more abundant and can be a real threat to reef health. MORE