Parrot Fish

Marine Iife
Sparisoma cretense

Parrot Fish

The Mediterranean parrotfish (Sparisoma cretense) is a vibrant and captivating species found in the Mediterranean Sea and the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Known for their striking coloration, male parrotfish often display a range of hues including red, blue, green, and yellow, while females and juveniles are more subdued in color, typically brown or gray. These fish can grow up to 50 cm in length, though most are smaller. A distinctive feature of the Mediterranean parrotfish is their beak-like mouth, formed by fused teeth, which they use to scrape algae and other food off rocks and coral.

Interesting Facts

In terms of behavior, Mediterranean parrotfish are often seen in small groups and are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and rest at night. They exhibit protogynous hermaphroditism, where individuals are born female and can later change to male. Spawning typically occurs in the spring and summer. The vivid colors of male parrotfish can change depending on their mood and during social interactions, especially during mating displays.

Where can you find me?

Mediterranean parrotfish are typically found in rocky reefs and seagrass beds, usually at depths of up to 50 meters.  As herbivores, their diet mainly consists of algae and seagrasses. By feeding on these plants, parrotfish play a crucial role in controlling algal growth and maintaining the health of coral reefs and seagrass beds, thus contributing significantly to the ecosystem.

You can often find these colourful fish swimming around on the wreck of Vera-K!