Fish Spot: Rainbow Parrotfish

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Common Name: Rainbow Parrotfish

Latin NameScarus guacamaia

Location: Caribbean, South Florida, Bahamas and also Bermuda.

Distinct Features and Information: It’s hard to decide which of the colorful parrot fish’s many unique characteristics is most remarkable. There’s its diet, which consists primarily of algae extracted from chunks of coral ripped from a reef. One parrot fish can produce up to 90kgs (approx. 198 pounds) of sand each year. There’s its gender, which they can change repeatedly throughout their lives, and their coloration and patterns, which are a classification nightmare, varying greatly, even among the males, females, and juveniles of the same species and finally, there are the pajamas. Every night, certain species of parrot fish envelope themselves in a transparent cocoon made of mucous secreted from an organ on their head. Scientists think the cocoon masks their scent, making them harder for nocturnal predators, like moray eels, to find. Average life span in the wild is up to 7 years and they can crow up to 4 ft (120 centimeters).

Did you know?

Some male parrot fish maintain harems of females. If the dominant male dies, one of the females will change gender and color and become the dominant male.

Special Status or Protections: None

Rainbow Parrot Fish Juvenile

Rainbow Parrot Fish Juvenile

Rainbow Parrot Fish Intermediate

Rainbow Parrot Fish Intermediate

Rainbow Parrot Fish Adult

Rainbow Parrot Fish Adult

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