Species encyclopedia

Greenblotch Parrotfish

Scarus quoyi


Parrotfish owe their name to their colours and their teeth joined together in the shape of a beak, which allows them to grind coral skeletons, contributing to the creation of coral sand.

A single parrotfish can produce more than 90 kg of sand each year. They feed mainly on algae, which they scrape off rocks with their beaks. The fragments of rock that they pull off are then ground in a pouch similar to a gizzard.

Additionally, to enable them to attack hard coral skeletons and stubborn algae, their pharynx is lined with several rows of teeth that can grind them into a fine powder.


At night, parrotfish take shelter, sometimes wrapping themselves in a cocoon of transparent mucus as protection from predators.

They undergo multiple transformations over the course of their existence: they change colours depending on their age, their sex and even their rank in the social order.

Most species of parrotfish are hermaphrodites, starting out as females and transforming into males later in life. The juveniles and females of this species are quite dull in colour whereas the males sport bright blues and greens.

The mucus in which parrotfish coat themselves has antioxidant properties that can heal wounds on their bodies and rid them of parasites.

Indo-Pacific region


Species encyclopedia

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