Midnight Parrotfish

(Scarus coelestinus)

Midnight parrotfishe are large blue and black fishes with bright blue unscaled heads and a blue band between their eyes.
Midnight parrotfish reach up to 80 cm in length and weigh up to 7 kg.
Like all parrotfish, they have numerous teeth on the outside of their jaw that form a beak used to scrape algae off coral and limestone.

Juvenile

Initial Phase​

Terminal Phase

Habitat and Distribution

The midnight parrotfish inhabits coral reefs mainly in the Caribbean, southern Florida, and the southern Gulf of Mexico, but has been found as far north as Maryland and as far south as Brazil.

Diet and Behavior

The midnight parrotfish is primarily a herbivore. Its main source of food is algae, which it scrapes from coral and other hard substrates using their beak.
By feeding on the algae, they help keep ecosystems balanced by preventing algae overgrowth, which can suffocate coral.
They also help distribute sand in tropical areas as the coral and rocky substrate they ingest is ground up by their pharyngeal teeth then eliminated as sand.

Reproduction

Female midnight parrotfish are pelagic spawners. They release fertilized eggs into the water, which become part of the plankton and eventually settle to the bottom until they hatch.

Conservation Status

Midnight parrotfish are cited as ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List. This is due to the high concentrations of midnight parrotfish in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
Midnight parrotfish are protected species in United States waters, as well as a number of marine protected areas in the Caribbean.