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Temporal range: Early Oligocene to Present[1]
Scarus ferrugineus, terminal phase
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Labriformes
Family: Scaridae
Genus: Scarus
Forsskål, 1775

about 52, see text

Scarus is a genus of parrotfishes. With 52 currently recognised extant species,[2] it is by far the largest genus in this group.[clarification needed] The vast majority are found at reefs in the Indo-Pacific, but a small number of species are found in the warmer parts of the eastern Pacific and the western Atlantic, with a single species, Scarus hoefleri in the eastern Atlantic. Most are very colourful, and have strikingly different initial (males and females) and terminal (males only) phases. Adults of most species reach maximum lengths of between 30 and 50 cm (12–20 in), but the rainbow parrotfish (Scarus guacamaia) can grow to lengths of 1.2 m (3.9 ft).[2]


There are currently 52 recognised species in this genus:[2]

In political thought[edit]

In Cesare Ripa's Renaissance iconography, the scarus fish symbolised civil "Union," i.e. the joining together of individuals into a collective body. Plutarch had written that scarus fish "swim together in shoals and ingeniously and heroically free each other when caught in a net." The scarus thus "denoted reciprocal assistance in the fight for survival."[3]



  1. ^ Sepkoski, J. (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology. 364: 560. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Froese, R. and D. Pauly, Eds. Scarus. FishBase. 2013.
  3. ^ Hont, I. Jealousy of Trade: International Competition and the Nation-State in Historical Perspective. Harvard UP: 2005, pp. 21-22.