Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Sparisoma rubripinne, Yellowtail Parrotfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

IP - grey, tail base & C yellow
TP - grey-green, iris red, C- center yellow
juv like IP

Sparisoma rubripinne (Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1840)

Yellowtail Parrotfish

Body elongate but robust, somewhat compressed; head relatively blunt; convex between eyes; flap at front nostril with 12-20 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 17; dorsal fin IX, 10, spine membranes with many cirri, but may be only 1 cirrus in large adults, no notch between spines and rays; anal fin III, 9; tail fin slightly concave in IP, more so 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: pale grey brown, scale edges dark; tail base and tail fin yellow; pelvic and anal fin with a reddish tint. Terminal phase: grey green head, body and most of fins; iris red; sometimes a pale (or yellowish) area along flank; a dark blotch at base of pectoral fin; tail fin with a pale (sometimes yellow) crescent at rear.

Reaches 48 cm; up to at least 6 years.

On reefs, and adjacent seagrass and algal beds.

Depth range: 0-60 m.

Bermda to the S Caribbean.

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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)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 48
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 60