Whitespot Parrotfish Click to enlarge image
A Whitespot Parrotfish at a depth of 18m, Wishbone Reef, Wreck Bay, far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, November 2001. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    forsteni
    Genus
    Scarus
    Family
    Scaridae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 55 cm in length.

Introduction

The Whitespot Parrotfish can be recognised by its colouration, which varies as the fish grows. It is a solitary species that feeds by scraping algae from rocks and coral.

Identification

The Whitespot Parrotfish can be recognised by its colouration, which varies as the fish grows.
Initial phase Whitespot Parrotfish have a reddish-brown body. There is a blue-green zone that extends from the eye to the middle of the body. A white spot near the tip of the pectoral fin gives this fish its name. The emarginate caudal fin is reddish-brown.


Juvenile Whitespot Parrotfish
A juvenile Whitespot Parrotfish at Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia. Image: Ian Shaw
© Ian Shaw

Terminal phase Whitespot Parrotfish have a green body with scales edged in pink. The head is purple and the lips are blueish, with a blue stripe extending from the mouth to below the eye. The dental plates (teeth) are blue-green. The pectoral fin is green and purple. The blue-green caudal fin is lunate.

Habitat

The species inhabits outer reefs, lagoons and coral-rich reef slopes, usually between depths of 3 m and 30 m.

Distribution

The Whitespot Parrotfish occurs in tropical marine waters of the Western and Central Pacific, from the Philippines, north to Japan, throughout Micronesia, south to Australia and east to the Ducie Islands. In Australia the Whitespot Parrotfish is known from the north-western coast of Western Australia around the tropical north of the country and south to the Capricorn Group, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Feeding and diet

The Whitespot Parrotfish is a solitary species that feeds by scraping algae from rocks and coral.

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 220.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Fairy and Rainbow Wrasses and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Selected Labroids. TMC Publishing. Pp. 208.
  4. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 222.
  5. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 415.