Kwajalein Parrotfish

Parrotfish are a conspicuous and important element of many coral reefs, including those at Kwajalein. They are large, often colorful and in great numbers graze on algae-covered rocks and, more rarely, on live coral itself. Some genera, such as Cetoscarus and Chlorurus, bite more deeply into the reef, taking not only the algae covering but also a layer of the calcium carbonate substrate. It has been suggested that these bites open up bare spots suitable for settlement of coral larvae and therefore may be important in maintaining the diversity and health of a coral reef. Parrots scraping up rock with their bites also makes them important bioeroders, as well as producing a large amount of fine sand that may collect in and fill the lagoon. Like their relatives the wrasses, parrotfish may change from female to male later in life, and will usually go through several color forms in their development from juvenile to female to terminal male. Juveniles may have several different color forms, and often develop into an initial phase color form that in some species may be either female or male. Females and initial phase males may, if they survive long enough, transition to another color form as terminal phase males. The many different color forms have often been given different names in the past, and some uncertainty still exists when trying to properly identify some younger specimens by color. There is no guarantee that those we show here are all correct. There are a couple more species known from the Marshalls we have yet to photograph.


Bolbometapon muricatum

Calotomus carolinus

Cetoscarus ocellatus
terminal male

Cetoscarus ocellatus
initial phase

Cetoscarus ocellatus
juvenile

Chlorurus bleekeri
terminal male

Chlorurus bleekeri
initial phase

Chlorurus frontalis

Chlorurus microrhinos
terminal male

Chlorurus spirulus
terminal male

Chlorurus spirulus
initial phase


Chlorurus spirulus
older juvenile


Chlorurus spirulus
small juvenile

Hipposcarus longiceps
terminal male

Hipposcarus longiceps
juvenile

Scarus altipinnis
terminal male

Scarus altipinnis
juvenile

Scarus dimidiatus
terminal male

Scarus festivus
terminal male

Scarus flavipectoralis
terminal male

Scarus flavipectoralis
initial phase

Scarus forsteni
terminal male

Scarus forsteni
initial phase

Scarus frenatus
terminal male

Scarus frenatus
initial phase

Scarus fuscocaudalis
terminal male


Scarus ghobban
initial phase


Scarus globiceps
terminal male


Scarus longipinnis

Scarus niger
terminal mal
e

Scarus niger
juvenile

Scarus oviceps
terminal male

Scarus oviceps
initial phase

Scarus oviceps
juvenile

Scarus psittacus
terminal male

Scarus psittacus
early male
?

Scarus rubroviolaceus
terminal male

Scarus rubroviolaceus
initial phase

Scarus schlegeli
terminal male

Scarus schlegeli
initial phase

Scarus spinus
terminal male

Scarus spinus
female

Scarus xanthopleura
initial phase

Back to Critters page

Kwajalein Underwater home

References used to identify parrotfish and to determine what is supposed to be in the Marshalls:

Myers, Robert F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes, third edition. Coral Graphics, Guam. 330pp.

Randall, John E. 2005. Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu. 707pp.

Randall, John E. 2007. Reef and Shore Fishes of the Hawaiian Islands. Sea Grant College Program, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu. 546pp.

Randall, John E. & Helen A. Randall. 1987. Annotated Checklist of Fishes of Enewetak Atoll and Other Marshall Islands. In The Natural History of Enewetak Atoll, volume II, Biogeography and Systematics. DOE/EV/00703-T1-Vol.2. 287-384.

Randall, John E., Robert F. Myers, Michael N. Trevor, Scott R. and Jeanette L. Johnson, Satoshi Yoshii and Brian D. Greene. 2005. Ninety-one new records of fishes from the Marshall Islands. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 14:38, 115-132.

 

All photos are protected by copyright. Please contact uwkwaj@yahoo.com for more information on purchase, use, or redistribution of any photos.