Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Sparisoma chrysopterum, Redtail Parrotfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout long, pointed; C concave
IP - pink; pectoral base - dark spot
TP - blue-green, head blue, iris red, inside pectoral yellow, C red crescent, D & A red

Sparisoma chrysopterum (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

Redtail Parrotfish

Body elongate, somewhat compressed; head relatively long and pointed, flat between eyes; flap at front nostril simple, with no more than 6 cirri in adult; 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 15-20; dorsal fin IX, 10, spine membranes with 1 cirrus, no notch between spines and rays; anal fin III, 9; tail fin distinctly concave in IP, strongly concave in TP; scales large, smooth, 1 row on cheek, 4 scales on center of nape before dorsal fin; lateral line in 2 sections.

Initial phase: grey brown to reddish brown; scales on belly and chest with red spots; a dark blotch at upper pectoral base; tail fin pale on base, pinkish to red at rear, upper and lower borders faintly barred. Terminal phase: blue green, paler bluish below; pectoral yellow with a black blotch on upper base; a large elongate blue blotch on side behind pectoral base; tail fin with blue-green base, a brownish C shaped bar from tail tips through center of fin, a yellowish bar behind that and a red crescent at the end of the fin.

Reaches 46 cm; up to at least 5 years.

On rubble and seagrass adjacent to reefs, occasionally on reefs.

Depth range: 1-61 m.

Bermuda to the S Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sea anemones
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • 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
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Benthic microalgae
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • Pelagic
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
  • 46
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 61