Redband Parrotfish

Redband Parrotfish, Sparisoma aurofrenatum

The Redband Parrotfish, Sparisoma aurofrenatum, whose common Spanish name is loro manchado, is a member of the Parrotfish or Scaridae Family, known collectively as loros or pericos in Mexico. Globally, there are fifteen species in the genus Sparisoma, six of which are found in Mexican waters, all in the Atlantic.

The Redband Parrotfish have elongated compressed bodies. Juveniles are various shades of red-brown; they have two white stripes, a black blotch behind their gill cover, and a white spot behind their dorsal fin. Females in the initial phase (IP) vary in color from blue-green to green to solid olive; their fins are mottled brown to red with two white stripes and they have a white spot behind their dorsal fin. IP fish are normally between 6.3 (2.5 inches) and 15.2 cm (6.0 inches) in length. Males in the terminal phase (TP) are greenish overall and lighter green ventrally; their flanks are yellow-brown with a red tint. They have red anal and dorsal fins and a reddish line that runs from their mouth, under their eyes, and to their upper gill cover. Their caudal fin is square and yellow-gray with a broad red margin and black-tipped lobes. Their iris is red. They typically have a white spot behind their dorsal fin. Their front teeth are fused into a beak with broad plates. They have one or two canines on the rear side of their top jaw. Their anal fin has 3 spines and 9 rays and their dorsal fin is continuous with 9 spines and 10 rays. They have 11 to 16 gill rakers. Their lateral line is broken into two sections and their body is covered with rows of large smooth scales.

The Redband Parrotfish are found in and around coral reef and seagrass environments as singular individuals or in small groups at depths up to 220 feet. Juveniles are found within seagrass beds where they are well camouflaged against the sea floor. They reach a maximum length of 28 cm (11 inches). They forage during the day feeding on benthic algae and live corals. They are hermaphrodites and live in harems with a dominant male. They are not territorial and live in harmony with other species. They normally swim by using only their pectoral fins and spend a significant amount of time resting on the bottom. At night they retire into self-made slimy sleeping bags for protection against predation. They have a lifespan of at least five years. They are a rare poorly studied species and very limited information is available about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Redband Parrotfish are found in all waters of the Atlantic.

The Redband Parrotfish is most likely confused with the Redtail Parrotfish, Sparisoma chrysopterum and the Stoplight Parrotfish, Sparisoma viride, however both have lunate caudal fins.

The Redband Parrotfish are too small to be of interest to most.

Redband Parrotfish, Sparisoma aurofrenatum, initial phase (IP), female. Fish caught in coastal waters off Islamorada, Florida, December 2013. Length: 20 cm (7.9 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of Kenneth Tse, Toronto, Canada.

Redband Parrotfish, Sparisoma aurofrenatum, initial phase (IP) female, transitioning to terminal phase (TP) male. Fish caught off the Anglins Pier, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida, March 2014. Length: 21.5 cm (8.5 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Redband Parrotfish, Sparisoma aurofrenatum, terminal phase (TP) male. Fish caught from coastal waters off Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, April 2015. Length: 23 cm (9.1 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of Kenneth Tse, Toronto, Canada.

Redband Parrotfish, Sparisoma aurofrenatum, terminal phase (TP) male. Fish caught from coastal waters off Key Largo, Florida, December 2013. Length: 22 cm (8.7 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of Ben Cantrell, Peoria, IL.