Tag Archive for: parrotfish

Mediterranean Parrotfish ((Sparisoma cretense) loves the shallow reefs and rocky shores with warm waters. Therefore is quite rare or absent in the northwestern Mediterranean and in the Adriatic Sea, but probably due to global warming there is an ongoing northward range expansion. In the Aegean Sea was even pictured in wall paintings since ancient years. And nowadays is joyful and abundant inhabitant oft the Ionian Sea. Their primary habitat is rocky reefs,  but they may visit adjacent Posidonia oceania  seagrass patches. Parrotfish feeding on epilithic and coralline algae and also on epiphytic algae, growing on seagrass. Constantly they chew the algae off  the rocks with their sharp teeth that look like a parrot’s beak and in a manner they shape the Mediterranean rocky reefs, like their tropical cousins do with the coral reefs. So  not just a nice face but also among the  most important species on the Mediterranean reef, as they are the “doctors” eating expanding and dead epilithic algae and dead and keeping the reef healthy, constantly creating new inhabitant for all species to play their role and complete their life circle in the bottom of our seas.

Because of the their mouth and teeth parrotfish is funny looking but also is a graceful, constantly moving swimmer  at the same time, one very challenging to capture on a photo, unless the perfect focus is not an issue.. And while the bright and colorful females are  red with a yellow-edged grey saddle shape on the back and a yellow spot at the base of the tail, males are overall grey with paler underparts and no distinctive markings. It is quite easy for the divers to distinguish them, especially as they form small or large groups, where one large male dominates the females. The same male was a female earlier in its life that, as in many fish species and as growing bigger changed into a male.

A huge school of male Parrotfish (Sparisoma cretense)

Probably not all females grow into males but there should be many. Otherwise how one can explain the u/w marvel experienced for few weeks roughly the same time every year, in the heart of the summer-usually in August- at the shallow reefs around Skala Kefalonia? Divers may experience schools of male parrotfish more than 300 strong, foraging the reef and making mad the local males that are trying to defend their territory in their pale-grey war colors! These schools are totally focused on plundering the reef and ignore the divers allowing them to come close to observe or take u/w photos.

Diver among parrotfish

This is a unique behavior that hasn’t been officially recorded and studied yet. But still there for lucky divers to experience the u/w wonder of the “buccaneer” parrotfish!

Infamous “Kakava” shoals are also an extended ancient wrecks site, once believed to be a submerged village. There is an abundance of amphorae, primarily from Roman era wrecks with at least one from 2nd century BC. Around the reef more evidence of ancient to modern day wrecks are present, such as steel ship parts and huge coal pieces, marking the resting place of an unknown steamboat.

The dive site is situated between the two main nesting beaches for Loggerhead sea turtles around Kefalonia “Kaminia” and “Skala”, so chances to catch sight of one looking for her next meal, are quite high.

Dive starts at the flat top of the shoal at 5m that could be the archetype of Mediterranean reef, with black and green sponges, brown seaweed and large schools of parrotfish and cow breams. Descending to the deepest part down to 12m, scattered pieces and blocks of smashed amphorae and metal relics from the ancient wreck become more and more abundant and among them brown meagres, groupers, scorpionfish and octopuses occupy every recess and crevice. Eventually coal pieces and metal remains mark the path towards the resting place of the unknown shipwreck and soon after divers reach the top of the reef where the ancient wreck crashed, and most intact amphorae can be found. Here, schools of damselfish hover against the current attracting predators such as snappers, Mediterranean barracudas and amberjacks. The return route to the boat is through peculiar rock formations, leftovers form the fragile rocky plate curved by forces of nature, and home to diverse marine life.

The average depth or the dive is 8 m, while the max is 12 m, appropriate for divers of all levels.

The usual visibility is 25 m and temperature ranges between 22-27 °C in summer months. Occasionally a weak surface current may be encountered. Boat ride duration 6′.


Scuba Diving Kefalonia, Scuba Kefalonia


At the eastern edge of Kakava Shoals and within an extended meadow of  Neptune’s seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) a  surprise awaits for divers to discover; the remains of an unidentified shipwreck. Huge riveted steel plates indicate that the vessel was built prior to WWII, when welding for shipbuilding wasn’t the settled method. Among shaft and winch parts the most impressive feature is the giant rudder of the ship that lies virtually intact. The steel pieces create a small artificial reef in the middle of seagrass where saddled and white seabreams, all kinds of wrasses, parrotfish and damselfish find shelter, whilst quite often predators like amberjacks and red snappers and also loggerhead turtles are visitors.

The average depth or the dive is 7 m, while the max is 10 m, appropriate for divers of all levels.

The usual visibility is 25 m and temperature ranges between 22-27 °C in summer months. Occasionally a substantial surface current may be encountered. Boat ride duration 6′.