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Stoplight parrotfish
Sparisoma viride
(Bonnaterre, 1788)

Description:
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: Body emerald green with a bright yellow spot at the upper corner of the gill cover, a yellow area at the base of the tail and a salmon to yellow crescent on the tail. The female usually has red-brown upper parts with a red belly and conspicuous white dots on the body.
Size up to 64 cm.
Initial phase: Upper body and head mottled reddish brown, mixed with white scales and a crescent on the tail. Belly and tail red (S. viride-initial phase).
Juvenile phase: Body dark reddish brown with three rows of widely spaced white spots. Belly lighter and a white bar on the tail (S. viride juvenile).

Habitat:
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. Common to 49 m depth.
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.

Distribution:
Common to occasional Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.

Stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride)