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|Size:||Length: 8 to 36 inches (20 to 91 cm)|
|Diet:||Algae, coral polyps and occasionally molluscs|
|Distribution:||Tropical Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans|
|Young:||Thousands of eggs|
|IUCN Status:||No special status|
|Lifespan:||Average 5 to 6 years|
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Scientists once thought there were over 350 different kinds of parrotfish, but it is believed now that there are 80 in total.
· Hawaiians once considered parrotfish so special that only royalty could touch them.
· Some parrotfish can change their colours to match their surroundings.
With their rainbow hues, dominant parrotfish males are among the most colourful fish found in coral reefs. Females and non-dominant males are more often a dull red, brown or grey—they are never as brightly coloured as the dominant males. Parrotfish have large, thick scales. They have an unusual-looking mouth, with large teeth that are fused together to create a beak that resembles those of parrots. Older males of some parrotfish species develop a hump on their forehead. Parrotfish born male remain that way; however, some females turn into males after they have bred for at least one season, because there are so few males.
Parrotfish are native to the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, around northern Australia, eastern Africa, southern Asia, Hawaii, the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico. They live amongst the coral reefs.
Parrotfish can produce eggs at any time of the year, although more are produced in summer than at any other time. When the females spawn (release their eggs), the males fertilize them. The eggs hatch into larvae in approximately 25 hours. The tiny larvae have no faces when they emerge, but grow a mouth within three days.
Parrotfish are active by day and at night, they sleep on the reef bottom. Some species bury themselves in the sand. Others secrete a mucous that envelopes and protects them as they sleep.
Parrotfish are not a conservation concern.
Parrotfish Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US