CRITTER: Meet ponuhunuhu, the star-eye parrot-fish that makes out beaches

Terry Lilley / Special to The Garden Island

Ponuhunuhu is the star-eye parrot-fish.

This 20-inch long shallow water parrotfish helps make our beautiful beaches here in Hawai‘i. They have bright white, round teeth that are all fused together in a beak that is so strong the fish can tear off chunks of live coral, grind them up to feed on the soft coral polyps and poop out the hard coral that washes up onto the beach. A healthy reef and beach has dozens of these parrotfish that also add bright color to the reef.