Queen Parrotfish

(Scarus vetula)

 The queen parrotfish scrapes algae from coral reefs with its parrot-like beak.
While feeding, hard stone and coral get mixed into its food, which in turn gets ground up by the fish and deposited back into the ecosystem as sand.
Young parrotfish have the ability to change sex, depending on the population’s needs.


Initial Phase​

Terminal Phase

Habitat and Distribution

The queen parrotfish is native to the tropical West Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the southern Gulf of Mexico.
It is found on both rocky and coral reefs at depths down to about 30 meters.

Diet and Behavior

The queen parrotfish spend up to 90 percent of their day feeding.
Using their unique beak they scrape algae from coral and rocks.
 has also been known to ingest sea  sponges. The mixture of coral and algae
is dig 


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

Currently listed by the IUCN as of least concerned due to large numbers commonly found in their native geographic range.