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

Size: 20-40 cm.

Weight: 1 kg.

Color: 2 adult color phases; initial phase- ground color of body reddish-brown, the scales and on side sufsed with bluish grey, each crossed with 2 to 5 horizontal dark brown lines (which may be partially broken into spots); head brownish red, the scales on cheek and opercle with orange-red sport lines, the lips and chin orange-red, the base of upper lip with a transverse green bands; lower lip with a narrower green band, and chin with a broad one to below orbit; an irregular horizontal green band from in front of upper edge of orbit; a longitudinal green band on head posterior to orbit; dorsal and anal fins dull orange with dull blue margins; caudal fin reddish or orangish brown, the upper and lower margins dark bluish; pectoral fins with orange-red rays and pale membranes, the upper edge dull blue; pelvic fine light orange-red, usually with dull blue margins; dental plates green in both phases; terminal phase- scales of body deep dark green, narrowly edged with dark reddish; scales of head also deep green to reddish brown on nape; lips salmon, shading to dull reddish violet on snout and chin, with the same green bands as described for the initial phase, but more distinct; unscaled part of dorsal fin orangish, each membrane with a zone of dull green parallel to rays, the margin blue with a submarginal dark line; anal fin similar; caudal fin deep salmon-pink in caudal lobes with blue upper and lower borders and a broad posterior area of blue containing a band of dull yellow; pectoral fins deep salmon-pink, the leading edge bluish; pelvic fins dull orange, edged with blue.

Body depth contained 2.2 to 2.5 times in standard length. Teeth fused in upper and lower jaws to form dental plates; plates smooth, the individual teeth only visible at margins; upper jaw enclosing lower with mouth closed; 0 to 2 canines posteriorly on upper dental plates, lips covering 3/4 to all dental plates; 6 to 8 (usually 7) median predorsal scales; 3 rows of cheek scales, with 6 to 8 (usually 7) scales in dorsal row, 6 to 9 (usually 8) scales in middle row and 2 to 5 (usually 3 or 4) scales in ventral row. Pectoral fins with 12 (occasionally 11 or 13) branched rays; caudal fin rounded in small fish, becoming double emarginate with produced lobes in terminal phase, the lobes terminating acutely. Lateral body shape is elongated. The western Pacific population is monochromatic, but the western Indian Ocean population has a distinctive reddish primary phase. Juveniles recognized by the twin black spots on the tail. 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.

Synonym (s)
Scarus madagascariensis (Steindachner, 1888)
Callyodon lineolabiatus Fowler & Bean, 1928
(junior synonym)
Callyodon madagascariensis (Steindachner, 1887)
(junior synonym)
Callyodon maoricus Jordan & Seale, 1906
(junior synonym)
Callyodon niger (Forsskal, 1775)
(senior synonym)
Callyodon nuchipunctatus (Valenciennes, 1840)
(junior synonym)
Pseudoscarus flavomarginatus Kner, 1865
(junior synonym)
Pseudoscarus godeffroyi G√ľnther, 1909
(junior synonym)
Pseudoscarus madagascariensis Steindachner, 1887
(junior synonym)
Pseudoscarus niger viridis Klunzinger, 1871
(junior synonym)
Scarus chadri Lacepede, 1802
Scarus limbatus Valenciennes, 1840
(junior synonym)
Scarus lineolabiatus (Fowler & Bean, 1928)
(junior synonym)
Scarus makaravar Montrouzier, 1857
Scarus nigar Forsskal, 1775
(senior synonym)
Scarus nuchipunctatus Valenciennes, 1840
(junior synonym)

Common Name (s)
• Swarthy Parrotfish (English)
• Dusky Parrotfish (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries, aquarium, marketed fresh or frozen, ornamental fish)

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


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands (Lat: 10) (Long: 93) INDIA
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)

Literature Source(s)
  • Rao, DV; Devi, K and Rajan, PT (2000) An account of ichthyofauna of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bay of Bengal Occasional paper no 178 Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI, Calcutta 1-434 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
  • Ohman, M; Rajasuriya, A and Olafsson, E (1997) Reef fish assemblages in north western Sri Lanka: Distribution patterns and influences of fishing practises Enviornmental Biology of Fishes Kluwer Academic Publishers 49 45-61
  • 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
  • Durville, P; Chabanet, P and Quod, JP (2003) Visual Census of the Reef Fishes in the Natural Reserve of the Glorieuses Islands (Western Indian Ocean) Western Indian Ocean J. Mar. Sci. WIOMSA 2 95-104
  • Chabanet, P and Patrick, D (2005) Reef Fish Inventory of Juan De Novas Natural Park (Western Indian Ocean) Western Indian Ocean Journal Marine Sciences 2005 WIOMSA 4 145-162
  • Allen, GR and Mohammed, A (2003) Coral Reef Fishes of Indonesia Zoological Studies 42(1) 26299 Available at - Digital Information Resource Center, Pune.
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Tun, MT (2001) Marine fishes of Myanmar (pelagic and demersal) U Than Tun, Director-General, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Myanmar 276 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • 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 -

Page last updated on:2011-05-11

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