Queen parrotfish

Picture of the Queen parrotfish has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution.
Original source: Flickr Author LASZLO ILYES (laszlo-photo) from Cleveland, Oh
Author: LASZLO ILYES (laszlo-photo) from Cleveland, Ohio, USA This file is licensed under the

The Queen parrotfish - Cocoon Maker

Queen parrotfishThe Queen parrotfish (Scarus vetula) is a brightly colored fish which lives mainly off the coral reefs in the Caribbean. The Queen Parrotfish as an adult will be between 15.2 to 25.4 cm or 6 to 10 inches in length with the maximum length recorded being 30.5 cm or 12 inches. This fish is known to secrete a mucus cocoon which it sleeps in. This cocoon helps to cover its scent, making it easier for the Queen Parrotfish to avoid its predators such as eels, sharks and groupers.

While the Queen Parrotfish resides mainly in the Caribbean, it can survive in other areas where the water is warm and there are reefs from which it can gather food. The Queen Parrotfish eats algae that is scrapes from the coral. It is found in regions off the coast of Florida as well as throughout the Western Atlantic Ocean as well as to the coast of South America. Currently it is not considered to be endangered, but heavy fishing is limiting the numbers.

Fish such as the Queen Parrotfish provide a great ecological service by ridding reefs of algae growth which tends to choke out the coral growth causing the reefs to die. Coral reefs are important to the ecosystem. Fish such as the Queen Parrotfish help rid the coral reefs of algae while helping to produce new coral sand through the excretion of newly cleaned sand.

This fish has a specially designed jaw with teeth which constantly are being regenerated to replace those worn down by the scraping done to remove the algae from the coral. The resulting look is a small, beak like mouth which, in combination with their bright colors, give them the name of parrotfish. While they tend to be brightly colored in adulthood, juvenile queen parrotfish tend to have a white body with black lines.

The classification of the Supermale Queen Parrotfish shows signs of being somewhat larger than the average parrotfish and more brightly colored. This fish reproduces by sending their eggs freely into the surrounding water to be fertilized and hatched. They tend to have over sized scales and very straight fins in addition to their bodies being elongated. The mottled looking colors of the body help them to be somewhat camouflaged while the bright streaks of color can be seen around the mouth area.

Picture of the queen parrotfish by Laszlo Ilyes, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Common names

Greenback parrotfish in English
midnight parrotfish in English
queen parrotfish in English

Order : Perciformes
Family : Scaridae
Genus : Scarus
Species : Scarus vetula
Authority : Valenciennes, 1840