Scarus psittacus   Forsskal,  1775 (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Randall, J.E.

Size: 15-30 cm.

Weight : 270-500 gm.

Color: 2 adult phases; initial phase- brown to reddish brown, shading to light orange-red on thorax; dorsal fin brown to orangish brown with a narrow pale margin and a large diffuse dark brown spot basally on the first inter spinous membrane; anal fin orangish brown with a narrow pale margin; caudal fin brown with a narrow whitish distal margin; pectoral fins with brown rays, pale membranes, and a small triangular blackish spot at upper base; pelvic fins orange-red; dental plates whitish in both phases; terminal phase- scales of body about half green and half pink to salmon, the green arranged in 4 or 5 longitudinal series of spots on side of caudal peduncle and as 3 stripes on abdomen; head greenish dorsally, the snout lavender-grey; lower part of head orange-red to salmon-pink; a blue band on upper lip extending across snout to posteror orbit; 2 green bands posterior to orbit; lower lip and chin with 2 transverse blue bands; ventral part of head with a blue-green streak; dorsal and anal fins light orange with a blue margin and a blue band at base, the dorsal with a median longitudinal series of green spots caudal fin light orange to lavender-pink, with blue upper and lower, and posterior borders, and a vertical series of blue spots in centre of fin; pectoral fins with blue upper and lower rays and a blue base, the remainder orange; pelvic fins blue except around rays 2 or 3 which are orange.

Body depth contained about 2.6 to 3.1 times in standard length. Teeth fused to form dental plates in upper and lower jaws; dental plates with smooth surface, the individual teeth only visible at free margins; upper jaw enclosing lower jaw, lips almost covering dental plates with mouth closed; 0 to 2 canines posteriorly on upper and lower plates; 3 to 5 (usually 4) median predorsal scales; 2 rows of cheek scales below the eye, with 5 to 7 (usually 6) scales in dorsal row, and 5 to 7 (usually 6) scales in ventral row. Pectoral fins with 12 (occasionally 11 or 13) branched rays; caudal fin truncate to emarginate in the initial phase, becoming more pronounced emarginate in terminal phase, but lobes never produced. Lateral body shape is fusiform. The initial phase closely resembles that of S. globiceps and S. rivulatus. May be differed according to the number of scale rows and scales on the ventral side. Dorsal spines (total): 9-9, Dorsal soft rays (total): 10 -10, Anal spines: 3, Anal soft rays: 9.

Protogynous, external fertilisation, nonguarders, open water or substratum egg scatterers.

Max. reported age: 5 years

Synonym (s)
Callyodon taeniurus (Valenciennes, 1965)
Scarus forsteri Valenciennes, 1840
Xanothon bataviensis Smith, 1956
Xanothon carifanus Smith, 1956
Xanothon parvidens Smith, 1956

Common Name (s)
• Palenose Parrotfish (English)
• Common Parrotfish (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries, aquarium, ornamental fish)

Habitat:  Reef Associated
Trophic Level:  Primary Consumer
Prey:  Benthic algae/weeds, other plants


• South Coast INDIA
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Srivastava, GK (1988) Fauna of India: Dermaptera (super family: Pygidicranoidea) ZSI, Kolkatta (Part 1) 268 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • James, C; O'Farrell, S; Hamylton, S; Ingwersen, C and Walker, R The coral reef resources of Mu Ko Surin national park, Thailand Coral Cay Conservation Available at -
  • Rouphael, T; Turak, E and Jon, B Seagrasses and mangroves of Yemen's Red Sea 41-89
  • Barman, RP and Mishra, SS (2005) Studies on the reef dwelling fishes of India, parrotfishes (Family Scaridae) ZSI, Kolkata 63 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Heemstra, E; Heemstra, P; Smale, M; Hoopers, T and Pelicier, D (2004) Preliminary checklist of coastal fishes from the Mauritian island of Rodrigues Journal of natural history Taylor and Francis 38(23-24) 3315 - 3350 Available at - index/
  • Mekkawy, IAA and Abdel-Rahman, GH (2005) Comparative study of scales of five species of parrotfishes (family Scaridae) from the Red Sea, Hurghada, Egypt with emphasis on their functional morphology Egyptian Journal of Zoology 44 421-443
  • Letourneur, Y; Chabanet, P; Durville, P; Taquet, M; Teissier, E; Parmentier, M; Quero, JC and Pothin, K (2004) An updated checklist of the marine fish fauna of Reunion Island, south-western Indian Ocean Cybium 28(3) 199-216
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 3 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (2002) Marine ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep CMFRI Special Publication CMFRI 72 1-134 Available at -
  • Varghese, M; Manisseri, MK; Ramamurthy, N; Geetha, PM; Thomas, VJ and Gandhi, A (2011) Coral reef fishes of Gulf of Mannar, S.E of India Fishing Chimes CMFRI 31(1) 38-40 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Ghosh, S; Ganeshamurthy, R; Balamurugan, J and Kumar, TTA (2011) Reef fishing- An off season amusement at Lakshadweep Fishing chimes 31(1) 128-130 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -

Page last updated on:2011-12-02

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