Tucked in a blanket of mucus, it’s bedtime for the parrotfish.

Tucked in a blanket of mucus, it’s bedtime for the parrotfish.

We love our tropical weather!

It has blessed us with almost year round perfect diving conditions, but if there’s just one thing we could single out that comes with the humidity, it’s mosquitoes.

In our humid weather, they thrive and socialise like it’s a party all day everyday. So we are more than acquainted with them pesky mosquitoes than we’d like to be.

Besides an arsenal of repellents and sprays, nothing is as reliable during the night as a mosquito net. A cocoon of safety and peace of mind, that let’s us sleep and prepare for another day of dives.

And who knew, that as night sets over the reef, parrotfish too are tucked in a cocoon of comfort and safety, in the form of their own mucus. Yup, #strangerthings are happening in the reef too.

Initially, these blankets of mucus were thought to help protect fishes from bigger predators, acting as a sort of cloak of invisibility. However, researchers still found that many were still made a midnight snack mid slumber regardless if they had their cloaks or not.

Among the many other theories as to why fishes do this, one that stand out most is that they do this to protect themselves from parasites. A target of late night bites, the culprit lurking in the reef are tiny blood sucking crustaceans called gnathiid isopods.

During the day, gnathiid are not a problem as fishes seek help from cleaner fish to control the infestation. But at night, they improvise. Parrotfishes and Wrasses are most commonly spotted sporting the mucus cocoon on our night dives.

Other functions of the mucus cocoon range from osmoregulation, reducing friction and protection from abrasions, pollutants and desiccation, as well as ultraviolet radiation.

Photo source: Getty Images