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Species: Scarus guacamaia, Rainbow Parrotfish

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small - green, scales edged in bronze, head bronze
large - front 1/2 bronze, rear green

Scarus guacamaia Cuvier, 1829

Rainbow Parrotfish

Body oval, somewhat compressed; teeth fused into a beak with two broad joined plates on each jaw, outer surface of plates smooth, not covered by lips; top jaw overlaps lower jaw at front; 1-2 canines on rear side of top jaw; large crushing plates of molar teeth form “pharyngeal mill” in throat; gill rakers 51-64; dorsal fin IX, 10, no notch between spines and rays; anal fin III, 9; pectoral II, 14 (1st spine very short); tail fin rounded in juveniles, W-shaped edge in large adults with elongate lobes; scales large, smooth, 3 rows on cheek, lowest row of 1 scale; 6 scales on center of nape before dorsal fin; lateral line in 2 sections.

Small fish: scales with bronze edges, green centers; scaled part of head bronze, short green lines around eye; chest and unscaled part of head dull orange; fins dull orange. Large fish: bicolored, rear (lower belly, top of back, rear of body and tail base) green, front half and head bronze, more green areas in larger fish; dorsal, tail and anal fins with green bases, orange centers and green borders.

Reaches 120 cm.

On reefs.

Depth range: 1-55 m; adults feed in very shallow water.

Bermuda to the S Caribbean; possibly in Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Corals
  • Estuary
  • Mangrove
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Herbivore
  • Data
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Benthic microalgae
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Near threatened
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 120
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 55