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Blue Parrotfish. M.L. Anderson, 2009. Parrot Fish. Parrotfish - Scaridae. Parrotfish continually graze the hard bottom, using their parrot‑like beak of fused teeth to scrape a bite of algae.

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Blue Parrotfish

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blue parrotfish
Blue Parrotfish
  • M.L. Anderson, 2009
parrot fish
Parrot Fish

Parrotfish - Scaridae

  • Parrotfish continually graze the hard bottom, using their parrot‑like beak of fused teeth to scrape a bite of algae.
  • Often, hard calcium carbonate is ingested with the algae and processed by a second set of plates in the back of the throat.
  • Parrotfish digest the algae and expel the rest through their digestive system.
  • The resulting by‑product is sand! It is estimated that a large Parrotfish can produce over one ton of sand each year.


Control algae abundance on the reef and keep the hard surfaces clean and allow new corals to grow or invertebrates to attach to the substrate.

There is some evidence that herbivorous fish have bacteria in their guts, much like cows, to allow them to digest more nutrients from the algae.

scrape algae from coral grind ingested rocks into sand
Scrape algae from coral

Grind ingested rocks into sand

Importance to Ecosystem

the blue parrot fish brief description
The Blue Parrot Fish: Brief Description…
  • Blue in color, with a yellow spot on the top of their heads, which fades with age.
  • Has a beak-like jaw with teeth for scraping coral and other rocky/rough materials.
  • Adults have very large scales
  • No other fish has a uniform, blue color.
where do they live
Where do they live?…
  • Found at depths of 3-25 m in the Western Atlantic.. Ranging from Maryland to the Bahamas, all the way down to Brazil.
  • Also found in the West Indies
  • Inhabits coral reefs
  • Feeds off of plants and small organisms in the sand
  • Spend 80% of their time on the prowl for food.


  • About 3’ in length
  • Beak-like plates instead of teeth
  • Uniform blue in color with yellow patch on top of head which disappears as fish matures
life history
Life History
  • There is little data on the Blue Parrotfish’s reproductive habits.
  • It is assumed that the female release eggs into water columns, which become a part of plankton until they hatch.
  • The eggs begin to hatch 25 hours after being released.
  • Mating occurs year round, but mostly in the summer months.
importance to ecosystem
Importance to Ecosystem
  • The blue parrotfish is edible but has no other importance to the ecosystem.
  • But…the blue parrotfish is the only parrotfish in the Caribbean under suspicion of causing ciguatera, an illness caused by eating poisonous fish.
interesting facts
Interesting facts
  • Certain species of parrotfish coat themselves in a transparent cocoon of mucous at night.
  • Gender can change throughout there lives.
  • Sometimes form harems.
  • Natural predators include:
  • - Snappers
  • - Jacks
  • - Moray eels

There is no evidence of this species being endangered or threatened.

Protected status in Bermuda



“Blue Parrotfish.” Florent’s Guide to the Tropical Reefs. 2008. April 3, 2009.

“Blue Parrotfish ScarusCoerulusMKramer” 2000. Animal Pictures Archive. April 3, 2009.

“Parrotfish." The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2008. 3 Apr. 2009 <

“Parrotfish” Wikipedia. Accessed April 7, 2009.

“Parrorfish Profile.” National Geographic Society, 2009. Accessed April 7, 2009.

“Protected Fish Species of Bermuda.” Bream Programme. Accessed April 7, 2009.

“ScarusCoeruleus.” Discover Life. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. April 3, 2009.

“ScarusCoeruleus Blue Parrotfish”. MarineBio Society .2009 April 3, 2009.