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General information

Parrot Fishes are member of the family „Scaridae“, a group sometimes regarded as a subfamily of Labridae. The Parrot Fish Family has about 80 species that inhabit tropical waters around the World. Parrot Fishes occurs throughout the Indo-Pacific including the Red Sea and East Africa to the Line Islands and Samoa; north to Taiwan and Yaeyama islands (Japan), south to the Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia; Palau, Caroline, Marshall, and Mariana Islands in Micronesia, Guam, American Samoa, Wake, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, as well to the Palmyra Atoll.

They live in coral reef habitats from 1-30 m depth in barrier and fringing reefs during the day, but rest in caves or shallow sandy lagoon flats at night. Juveniles are found in seagrass beds inside lagoons while adults are more commonly found in outer lagoons and seaward reefs. This species is gregarious and usually occurs in small aggregations, but group size can be quite large on seaward and clear outer lagoon reefs. They sleep in large groups, thus rendering them highly vulnerable to exploitation by spearfishers and netters at night.

Parrot Fishes have remarkable beak-like mouths with horny fused teeth, which they use to scrape algae from rocks and coral. Parrot Fishes get their names from the fact that the teeth of both jaws are fused to form a parrot-like beak. Parrot Fishes are elongated, usually rather blunt-headed and deep-bodied, and often very brightly coloured. The colors on male Parrot Fishes are very vivid shades of dark or light bright yellows, pinks, reds, greens, blues and turquoises. The females are very drab, dull colored shades of reds, browns and olive greens.

They are graceful swimmers and can often be observed on inshore shallow reefs and around breakwaters. Parrot Fish play are large role in the destruction of our reefs as they bite off and grind up the corals. The can excrete tremendous amounts of digested coral, which comes out as sand. This is where a lot of our ocean sand comes from. It is not a reef safe fish to have, but it gets along well with almost any other marine fishes and will generally get along with other species of the same kind.

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