Rainbow Parrotfish

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Appearance and Diet

The rainbow parrotfish, also known as the Scarus Guacamaia, is the largest herbivorous fish in the Atlantic region. Their bodies are very colorful and most of these fish have greenish-blue bodies with orange fins (Ark). White spots cover their dark bodies before they turn colorful (WTF) The "parrot" part of their name comes from their "beaked" mouth to help them eat the algae off of the coral. Male rainbow parrotfishes can grow up to 1.2 meters long and one of them lead the harem of female rainbow parrotfishes. If the male defendant dies, the most dominant female takes over (Ark). These fish can be found in groups (harems) or singly (WTF).

Coral reefs are the most important part of the rainbow parrotfishes' diet. They have a specific niche to find their food: algae and plankton (YA). To get the algae, they use their beaks to break off coral and grind it down. The algae is then consumed, and the leftover coral pieces are excreted as sand (UKD). Predators of the rainbow parrotfish are moray eels, bigger fish, octopi, and sharks (YA).

Habitat and Adaptations

The rainbow parrotfish are found about 10-80 feet deep around the ocean in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Antarctica (RP). They are also found in the Gulf of Mexico and extreme Florida (PR). Most of them are found around 25 feet deep in the tropical coral reefs. Their ranges are from North/South/Central America, Oceania, and Antarctica (RP).

Rainbow parrotfish survive in only salty, subtropical water in the corals (RP). To hide from predators, they obviously don't live where predators live. They also have an organ that produces and surrounds them in a jelly-like cocoon that masks their scent. The rainbow parrotfish have the beak-like mouth to break off the coral to get algae; they grind down the coral and it becomes waste. These fish live in narrow niches where there are algae. The largest and most colorful gets their own female. The smaller and less colorful parrotfish males have to share females. To reproduce, these fish have to change genders. Fortunately, there are still some rainbow parrotfishes around. If there were no parrotfishes, then the rest of the habitat will die from buildup of algae, which will cause no sunlight to pass through (Prezi).

Rainbow Parrot fish, Roatan Honduras.


These parrotfishes were considered vulnerable because of overfishing and habitat loss. Now, its is considered Data Deficient by IUCN, nearly threatened (Wiki). Rainbow parrotfishes are endangered because of overfishing, human pressures, and destroyed mangroves (WA). Loss of coral reef, coastal development, extraction, natural rarity, large size, and shallow depth range also got them endangered. All parrotfishes are protected, and fishing, selling, eating, harvesting, or possessing these fish is banned (RL). Reef reserves were established and fishing and human pressures are prevented (CC).