European or Mediterranean Parrotfish – Sparisoma cretense


The European or Mediterranean Parrotfish is a species in the family of the Labridae and thus belongs to the superclass of the bony fish.

European or Mediterranean Parrotfish - Sparisoma cretense Osteichthyes bony fish diving canary islands species atlantic ocean male
Mediterranean Parrotfish – Sparisoma cretense
Female

Description

Sparisoma cretense has a elongated body and is laterally compressed. Males and females are clearly distinguishable. Often they have their mouth open and you can see their teeth. The Mediterranean Parrotfish reaches a maximum size of 50cm, with the male being slightly larger than the female.

European or Mediterranean Parrotfish - Sparisoma cretense Osteichthyes bony fish diving canary islands species atlantic ocean male
Mediterranean Parrotfish – Sparisoma cretense
Male

Female

The body of the female is red with a yellow stripe, which runs over the eyes to the chest fin and a yellow point at the beginning of the tail fin. Moreover, in the area where the head passes to the body, it has a large grey spot.

Male

The body of the males is grey, whereby the edges of the scales appear lighter. Its fins have pink edges and the body also has a pink glimmer.

Habitat and Distribution

The European Parrotfish is found in shallow waters, near rocky shores, at depths down to 50m.

When diving in the Canary Islands you can observe it at every dive.

Apart from the Canary Islands, Sparisoma cretense can also be found from the Portuguese coast, via the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde, all the way to Senegal. It is also common in the Mediterranean Sea.

Biology

When the European Parrotfish is still young, it is more likely to live in groups, while adult animals live solitaire and territorially. However, overlaps of the areas occur, especially in the reproduction period.

Its diet consists of algae and invertebrates. Most of the time they eat on rocks and spit out uneatable material directly.