The Blue Parrotfish
A member of the parrotfish genus Scarus, blue parrotfish is found on coral reefs in shallow water in the tropical and subtropical parts of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. This fish spends 80% of its time searching for food.
The Blue Parrotfish or Scarus coeruleus, is an almost completely bright-blue species of parrot fish (Scarus). They are the only uniformly blue species of fish which are known till now. They are also known as blue kwabs, bluemen, blue parrots and kwabs.
They are average 30-75 cm in length with a max length of 1.2 m. They develop a large “beak” like other parrotfish that is used for scraping algae and small organisms from rocks. They have pharyngeal teeth that grind ingested rocks into sand. No other species has this uniform blue color as adults.
Adults have large scales and develop a protruding snout and extended upper and lower caudal (tail) fin lobes. Blue parrotfish are found on coral reefs at depths of 3–25 m in the western Atlantic from Maryland in the United States to Bermuda, the Bahamas and south to Brazil. They are also found throughout the West Indies but are absent from the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico. Juveniles are found in beds of turtle grass.
In summer, blue parrotfish gather in spawning groups. Fertilization takes place and the females lay their eggs into the water column after which they sink to the seabed. The eggs hatch after about twenty-five hours. The males are generally larger than the females, they also tend to develop “humps” on their head. Their range extends throughout much of the Western Atlantic.
Some species of parrotfish secrete a thick ‘cocoon’ of mucus from their mouth before going to sleep, that then covers the animal. It’s thought that this helps to protect them from predators by hiding their scent.
They are currently labeled as ‘Least Concern’ on the Endangered Species List, but they do remain vulnerable due to habitat destruction/coral reef death/bleaching.