Sparisoma cretense

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Sparisoma cretense
Rhodes Aquarium - Sparisoma cretense.jpg
Sparisoma cretense.jpg
Terminal phase (above)
Initial phase (below)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Scaridae
Genus: Sparisoma
Species: S. cretense
Binomial name
Sparisoma cretense
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The Mediterranean parrotfish (Sparisoma cretense) is a species of parrotfish found at depths up to 50 m (160 ft) along rocky shores of the Mediterranean and the eastern Atlantic, from Portugal south to Senegal.[1] Although some populations have been affected by fishing pressure,[2] it is quite common locally, for example at the Azores, where its behavior has been studied in detail.[3]

It breeds during the summer, from July to September.[1] It is a diurnal fish, but spawning is around dawn or dusk and can occur in pairs or groups.[3][4] Feeding primarily on epilithic and coralline algae, this fish may also take small invertebrates.[5]

As its relatives, this parrotfish starts as female (known as the initial phase) and then changes to male (the terminal phase). However, unlike most of its relatives, it is a secondary gonochorist, meaning some females do not change sex, and the ones that do change from female to male while still immature (i.e., reproductively functioning females do not change to males).[3] The initial phase is red and yellow with a greyish saddle, while the terminal phase typically is overall greyish.[6] It reaches a maximum length of 50 cm (20 in),[1] and an almost complete overlap in the size of females and males occurs, though females average smaller than males.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2009). "Sparisoma cretense" in FishBase. December 2009 version.
  2. ^ Tuyaa, Ortega-Borgesa, Sanchez-Jerezb & Haroun (2006). Effect of fishing pressure on the spatio-temporal variability of the parrotfish, Sparisoma cretense (Pisces: Scaridae), across the Canarian Archipelago (eastern Atlantic). Fisheries Research 77(1): 24-33
  3. ^ a b c d Afonsoa, Moratoa & Santos (2008). Spatial patterns in reproductive traits of the temperate parrotfish Sparisoma cretense. Fisheries Research 90(1-3): 92-99
  4. ^ de Girolamo, Scaggiante & Rasotto (1999). Social organization and sexual pattern in the Mediterranean parrotfish Sparisoma cretense (Teleostei: Scaridae). Marine Biology 135(2): 353-360
  5. ^ Papoutsoglou & Lyndon (2003). Distribution of α-amylase along the alimentary tract of two Mediterranean fish species, the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense L. and the stargazer, Uranoscopus scaber L.. Mediterranean Marine Science 4(2): 115-124
  6. ^ Debelius, H. (1997). Mediterranean and Atlantic Fish Guide: From Spain to Turkey - From Norway to South Africa. ConchBooks. ISBN 978-3925919541.
  • Cardigos, F. 2001. A Veja. Revista Mundo Submerso, 58.
  • Morato, T., P. Afonso, P. Lourinho, J.P. Barreiros, R.S. Santos & R.D.M. Nash 2001. Length-weight relationships for 21 coastal fish species of the Azores, north-eastern Atlantic . Fisheries Research, 50: 297-302.
  • Projecto CLIPE (Project Clip) - Climate effect on ecology of fishes
  • Projecto BARCA (Project Boat) - A project at Departamento de Oceanografia e Pescas da Universidade dos Açores (Department of Ocenography and Fishery) at the University of the Azores (Universidade dos Açores) and studies of traditional fisheries.