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Scaridae
PARROTFISHES
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Scarus perrico
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Scarus perrico
Scarus compressus
© Copyright Gerald Allen, 2006 · 0
Scarus compressus

Scarus ghobban
© Copyright Roger Steene, 2006 · 0
Scarus ghobban
Scarus ghobban
© Copyright Roger Steene, 2006 · 0
Scarus ghobban

Scarus ghobban
© Copyright Roger Steene, 2006 · 0
Scarus ghobban
Scarus rubroviolaceus
© Copyright Roger Steene, 2006 · 0
Scarus rubroviolaceus

Scarus ghobban
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Scarus ghobban
Scarus rubroviolaceus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Scarus rubroviolaceus

Scarus rubroviolaceus
© Copyright Gerald Allen, 2006 · 0
Scarus rubroviolaceus
Scarus compressus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Scarus compressus

Scarus compressus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Scarus compressus
Scarus compressus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Scarus compressus

Scarus compressus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Scarus compressus
Scarus compressus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Scarus compressus

Scaridae
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Scaridae
español

Overview
Main identification features
  • ll: 2 sections
  • d: 1, simple, long base; spines flexible
  • parrot beak
  • large smooth scales
FAMILY SCARIDAE

PARROTFISHES

Parrotfishes are common inhabitants of tropical reefs. Most are easily recognized by the fused teeth which form a parrot-like beak. The family is distributed worldwide and contains 9 genera with about 89 species. In the tropical eastern Pacific there are three genera with six species, including three endemics and three Indo-Pacific species.

Most parrotfishes have a very similar morphology. Typical features include an unnotched dorsal fin with IX, 10 rays and an anal fin of III,9 rays. Scales are smooth and large, with 22-24 in the lateral line. The characteristic tooth plates or beak has a central joint and the adults of some species possess one or two short canine teeth on the rear of the beak.

Parrotfishes feed on corals and are also one of the main algal grazers that inhabit may tropical reefs. Their characteristic "chisel" marks are seen everywhere and foraging schools emit biting sounds that are clearly audible. They also have plates of interlocking molar-type teeth on plates on the upper and lower surface of the throat. These are used for grinding bits of coral and rock from which their algal food is extracted. This process results in a fine powder and is voided as a white cloud with the feces. This constitutes one of the most important sources of fine bottom sediments on coral reefs. Spawning often occurs at dusk. Eggs and sperm are released at the apex of a rapid rush towards the surface. Both pair spawning (1 male + 1 female) and group spawning (1 female + various males) are common. Sex reversal, similar to that of wrasses, is typical; juveniles, females, and males of the same species may display strikingly different color patterns. The initial adult phase, which is generally female (but also male in some species), is usually characterized by a relatively drab pattern. Females of most parrotfishes in this phase are able to transform to functioning males and undergo a change in color; the terminal male is usually bright colored. At night parrotfishes seek out caves and ledges where they rest on the bottom and secrete a mucus cocoon that completely envelops them.


References
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Acknowledgements

I thank Ashley MacDonald and John Pickering, University of Georgia, for technical support in building this page.


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