A new study found that one coral-eating fish has mucus-secreting lips that protects it during feeding. The tubelip wrasses (Labropsis australis) developed fleshy, protruding lips that produce a thin layer of mucus that protects them from barbed or venomous cells found on the coral’s surface. The lips allow the fish to suck edible material off coral in short “kissing” motions. Because of corals’ sharp skeletons and presence of protective surface cells, there are only a few coral-eating fish. Of the 6,000 reef fish species, only 128 feed on coral.
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Read “Why Slimy Fish Lips Are the Secret to Eating Stinging Coral.”
These Slimy Fish Lips Are Made for Eating Coral | National Geographic