Parrotfish owe their name to the shape of their mouth. Instead of teeth they have two beak-like plates, like parrots. They have even rows of large, noticeable scales on their bodies.
Terminal phase: Fish with an orange-brown head and bright green rear body. The amount of orange-brown versus green varies between individuals. Beak greenish (S. guacamaia terminal phase).
Size up to 120 cm.
Initial phase: Uniformly colored, with a squared tail. Scale centers in shades of green, edges orangish.
Juvenile phase: Brown with two indistinct stripes on the sides, belly lighter.
They swim about reefs using their pectoral fins; the tail is only used for burst of speed. They use their 'beaks' to scrape algae and polyps from corals and rocks. They are often seen defecating, what looks like white clouds, which consists mainly of coral limestone. Most common to a depth of 25 m.
Like the wrasses, the parrotfishes have two types of reproductive behavior. The younger and not so colorful males fertilize together with other males the eggs of one single female, while colorful, large males have each their own territory where one male fertilizes one female.
Occasional south Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.