Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Sparisoma atomarium, Greenblotch Parrotfish

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IP: pink+ rows pearl spots, genital papilla black, pectoral base yellow
TP opercle edge - blue bar; front D - black spot; fins red
juv like IP

Sparisoma atomarium (Poey, 1861)

Greenblotch Parrotfish

Body elongate, somewhat compressed; teeth fused into a beak with broad plates, outer surface of plates rough with individual teeth visible, partly covered by lips; front edge of top jaw inside front edge of lower jaw when mouth is closed; 1-2 canines on rear side of top jaw; large crushing plates of molar teeth form “pharyngeal mill” in throat; gill rakers 12-16; dorsal fin IX, 10, no notch between spines and rays; anal fin III, 9; scales large, smooth, 1 row on cheek, 4 scales on center of nape before dorsal fin; 1 scale on centerline before pelvic fins; lateral line in 2 sections.

Initial phase: Reddish above, white below; sometimes 3 red stripes along flank and lower part of tail base; 3 rows of pearly spots on scales on belly; snout yellowish; iris yellow; upper ¾ of head often with small dark speckles; dorsal and tail fins reddish, pectoral base and anal fin yellow; genital papilla black; a brown spot at front of dorsal fin. Terminal phase: Upper ¾ of head and body yellowish to reddish, to greenish brown; lower head and body blue black to blue green; a short blue bar along edge of top corner of operculum, often a yellow area along lower flank; iris red; dorsal, tail and anal fins orange-red; a black spot at front of dorsal fin; base of pectoral fin black.

Reaches 15 cm; up to at least 2 years.

Algal and seagrass beds;

Depth range: 0-106 m; usually < 10 m.

North Carolina to the S Caribbean.

Note: Its brazilian sister species is S. tuiupiranga.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Estuary
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • 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
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 15
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 106