Bumphead Parrotfish

Scientific name: Bolbometopon muricatum
Fijian name: Kalia

The giant bumphead parrotfish, called kalia in Fijian, can grow to well over 1 m in length and is easily recognizable by the large bump on its forehead. These fish generally form small aggregations. They are referred to as 'excavators' because they remove limestone and dead corals from the reef as they feed on algae and live corals. Their feeding activities expose the hard reef matrix, opening up new sites for corals to colonize.

Kalia prefer to sleep in cave-like geological formations at night, making them vulnerable to night spearfishing. This practice has contributed to unsustainable harvesting of the species, and it is now rare to encounter schools of bumphead parrotfish during undersea excursions. As such, they are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Some of the last remaining schools can be seen in and around the Namena Marine Reserve and on the Great Sea Reef to the north of Vanua Levu.

WCS-Fiji is currently monitoring frequency of all sightings of bumphead parrotfish both on and off transects during our coral reef assessments. We are additionally incorporating their habitat requirements into MPA network designs and encouraging communities to protect them to boost their reef resilience. To raise awareness of the threat to bumphead parrotfish and other fish species vulnerable to overharvesting, WCS-Fiji has produced fish ruler stickers showing the minimum size at maturity and which fish are particularly threatened in Fiji. We are encouraging fishers to release all fish caught below reproductive size.

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