The initial phase of the Queen Parrotfish is reddish-brown in color with a pale head and a single broad, white stripe running along each side of the body. They are heavy-bodied and can be either male or female.
Queen Parrotfish in the terminal phase are always male. They are sometimes referred to as “supermales”, as they are usually larger in size. Queen Parrotfish in the terminal phase are pale blue-green in color with bright blue and green markings around the mouth and a pale blue bar on each pectoral fin. The prominent, beaklike teeth (characteristic of the parrotfish family) can be seen in all stages of the Queen Parrotfish’s life cycle. Longevity is unknown, but based upon the longevity of other related parrotfish, it is estimated to be up to 20 years. Queen Parrotfish can reach a maximum size of 61 cm (24 in).
A day in the life of a Queen Parrotfish starts with spawning in the early morning, just after sunrise. Afterwards, they spend their day roaming the reef scraping algae from rocks and dead coral. Queen parrotfish prefer areas of the reef where rock or coral rubble are abundant. These areas usually provide plenty of algae for them to consume. At night, they sleep within protective mucous cocoons, often on sand, near or under reef ledges for protection from predators. Adult Queen Parrotfish have a large variety of predators to be on the look for. However, grouper, eels and sharks are the most common predators.
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For more information about the Queen Parrotfish (Scarus vetula), please visit: http://oceana.org/en/explore/marine-wildlife/queen-parrotfish
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