The blue parrotfish (Scarus coeruleus) is a member of the parrotfish genus Scarus. It is found on coral reefs in shallow water in the tropical and subtropical parts of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
They are uniformly blue with a yellow spot on their heads that fades as they age. They average 30–75 cm in length with a maximum length of 1.2 m. They develop a large "beak" like other parrotfish that is used for scraping algae and small organisms from rocks. They have pharyngeal teeth that grind ingested rocks into sand. No other species has this uniform blue color as adults.
In summer, blue parrotfish gather in spawning groups. Fertilization takes place and the females deposit their eggs into the water column after which they sink to the seabed. The eggs hatch after about twenty-five hours.
Distribution and habitat
Blue parrotfish are found on coral reefs at depths of 3–25 m (9–82 ft) in the western Atlantic from Maryland in the United States to Bermuda, the Bahamas, and south to Brazil. They are also found throughout the West Indies but are absent from the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico. Juveniles are found in beds of turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum).
Their diet consists of small organisms found in the sand and algae that they scrape off rocks. They spend 80% of their time searching for food.
The blue parrotfish has a wide range and is abundant in much of that range, some of which is in marine conservation areas. Although larger individuals are targeted by fishermen, the population of this fish seems to be stable overall. For these reasons, the IUCN has listed this fish as being of "Least Concern".
- Rocha, L.A., Choat, J.H., Clements, K.D., Russell, B., Myers, R., Lazuardi, M.E., Muljadi, A., Pardede, S. & Rahardjo, P. 2012. Scarus coeruleus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 9 January 2013.
- "Blue parrotfish". FishBase.org. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Blue Parrotfishes, Scarus coeruleus". MarineBio Conservation Organisation. Retrieved 2013-12-27.