Princess Parrotfish

(Scarus taeniopterus)

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

Princess parrotfishes typically exist in and around coral reefs in Bermuda, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, southern Florida and throughout the Caribbean.

Diet and Behavior

The princess parrotfish are herbivores but are not strictly vegetarian as they ingest coral polyps.
Their feeding activity plays an important role in the process of spreading and manufacturing coral sand in the reef environment and normally prevents the coral from being suffocated due to the presence of algae. 

Reproduction

There are two types of males, primary and secondary.
Primary males are those males born male, however secondary males are females that have become male by undergoing a change in sex.
Individual parrotfishes go through three separate stages, which differ by colour and sexual maturity. 
The first phase consists of juveniles.
The initial phase is the second phase, which includes females and males that cannot be differentiated without actually examining them internally.
The terminal phase is made up of mature males; they display bright colours.
These TP males typically dominate reproduction.
When a TP male dies this normally signals an IP female to undergo changes in behaviour and sex.
The IP males display what is known as ‘sneak spawning’ by infiltrating the harem of a TP male by pretending to be a female.
The IP male follows the spawning pair while releasing a mist of sperm into the water column during the peak time for mating thus attempting to overwhelm fertilization by the TP male, as IP males are able to produce more sperm.

Conservation Status

.The princess parrotfish has a Least Concern (LC) ranking in the IUCN.
They are harvested at reefs by fishermen for sale at markets for subsistence and are also captured to be sold as pets to be kept in aquariums.