Animal Species:Whitespot Parrotfish, Scarus forsteni (Bleeker, 1861)

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.

Juvenile Whitespot Parrotfish

Juvenile Whitespot Parrotfish
Photographer: Ian Shaw © Ian Shaw

Standard Common Name

Whitespot Parrotfish

Alternative Name/s

Forsten's Parrotfish, Tricolor Parrotfish


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.

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.

Size range

The species grows to 55 cm in length.


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.

Scarus forsteni

Distribution by collection data

Biomaps map of Whitespot Parrotfish specimens in the Australian Museum collection.

What does this mean?


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

Feeding and Diet

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



What does this mean?


  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.

Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Whitespot Parrotfish, Scarus forsteni, Scaridae, brown, white, yellow, 'normal fish', 30 cm - 1 m, stripes or bands, coral reef, marine, adult,