Parrotfish are classified under the family Scaridae (order Perciformes) usually inhabiting in tropical reefs. These tropical fish have elongated bodies with a variety of bright colors, blunt heads and deep bodies with large scales. More interesting facts about parrotfish you’ll find out as you read on.


Parrotfish Description


The characteristic feature of this tropical fish is the beak which is bird-like; formed by the fusion of the teeth along the jaws. The fish use their beak (which is strong enough to leave scars on the corals) to bite and scrape off the algae and the softer parts of the coral and then grinding the food with plate-like structures inside their throats.


Size and Colors of Parrotfish


Parrotfish can grow up to 1.2 meters in length (4 feet) and they can weigh up to 20 kilograms (45 pounds), and some can even grow larger. Their colors vary, with the males differing significantly from the females, and the young from the adults. The colors of a parrot fish range from yellow, green, blue, and other colors, with different colors in each stage of life.


Parrotfish Behavior


Here’s one amazing trivia about parrotfish. Did you know that Parrotfish can change their gender, which is a bizarre characteristic of this species? This means that a female parrot fish may have been a male in the past or is going to change into a male in the future. When a bicolor female transforms into a male, the secondary male colors are uniquely colorful. As a matter of fact, males that transformed from females may be the most colorful specimens of the species. Parrotfish have very distinct life stages; so distinct that parrot fish of the same species have been mistakenly classified as another species.


Diet and Habitat


The herbivorous parrotfish can be found among the coral reefs, feeding on algae. They have very strong beaks capable of actually biting off chunks of the hard coral. Other species can secrete mucous sacs at night and emerge from the sac in the morning.


Distribution and Species of Parrotfish


Parrotfish are edible but play no great economic importance as a group. The surf parrot or the rivulated parrot (Callyodon fasciatus) inhabits the Indo-Pacific region. It can grow to a length of 46 centimeters (18 inches) or more. The males of the species are colored green, orange or red and the females yellow or blue. The rainbow parrot fish in the Atlantic Ocean can grow to 90 centimeters. Its color ranges from green to bright orange with a blue beak. Another Atlantic species is the queen parrot which grows up to 50 centimeters, with the males colored blue with pigmentations of red, orange and green but reddish or purplish sporting a white stripe if female.

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