© Johan Boshoff


Parrotfish (Scaridae)


Parrotfish measure 45 cm on average but can be as long as 90 cm.


Parrotfish are characterised by their large, merged teeth which give them the appearance of a parrot. This is a big fish, its body narrowing towards the sickle-shaped tail. Its dorsal fish is continuous. Male and female colouration is varied in this kaleidoscopic fish.

General Information

Parrotfish belong to the scaridae family which comprises of nine genera and 89 species. It swims by predominantly using its pectoral fins and its caudal fin for short speeds. To ward off predators, they cover their bodies with a protective layer of mucus when sleeping at night. Parrotfish bite off pieces of coral to aid their digestion of algae and are necessary producers of sand sediment on coral reefs. They are wrasses and pelagic spawners. If the dominant male dies, the female has the ability to change into a functioning male.


Parrotfish feed on algae and coral polyps.


They can be found in all temperate and tropical oceans across the world.

Common Species

Bicolour parrotfish (Cetoscarus bicolor)
Ember parrotfish (Scarus rubroviolaceus)

© Johan Boshoff