Animal Species:Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus microrhinos (Bleeker, 1854)

The Steephead Parrotfish has large exposed tooth plates. It occurs in tropical marine waters of the Western and Central Pacific.

Standard Common Name

Steephead Parrotfish


The Steephead Parrotfish has large exposed tooth plates. The upper plate has one or two canines on each side. The head profile becomes very steep in adults. The caudal fin is rounded in juveniles but changes to truncate with elongate upper and lower lobes in adults.

Both sexes are usually green-blue overall with a pinkish bar on each scale. The tooth plates are blue-green. There is a blue-green band above the mouth and a wider one below. An irregular blue-green line crosses the cheek, below which the head is usually greenish-yellow. This species also has a less common red phase.

Size range

The Steephead Parrotfish grows to 70 cm in length.


It occurs in tropical marine waters of the Western and Central Pacific.

In Australia this species is known from south-western to north-western Western Australia and from the northern to southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Juveniles are found on the east coast as far south as central New South Wales.

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.

Chlorurus microrhinos

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Steephead Parrotfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?



What does this mean?


  1. Bellwood, D.R. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony Fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-v, 3381-4218.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437. (as Scarus microrhinos)
  3. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  4. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.

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Tags Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus, microrhinos, fishes, green, 'normal fish', 30 cm - 1 m, countershaded, coral reef, marine, adult, blue, Labridae, Scarinae,