Striped Parrotfish, Scarus iseri
The Striped Parrotfish, Scarus iseri, whose common Spanish name is loro listado, is a species in the Parrotfish or Scaridae Family, known collectively as loros or pericos in Mexico. Globally, there are 64 species in the genus Scarus, ten of which are found in Mexican waters, six in the Atlantic and four in the Pacific.
The Striped Parrotfish are relatively small fish with elongated moderately compressed bodies. They vary greatly in color depending on their phase. Juveniles are pale with three dark stripes along their body, a yellow snout, and a transparent caudal fin. Initial phase (IP) females have brown upper bodies that transition to pale gray ventrally; their caudal base is brown and their caudal fin transparent; they have two white stripes above and below their eyes, a yellowish snout, and several yellow to orange dotted lines along their belly. Terminal phase (TP) males are blue-gray dorsally and transition to white ventrally; their head is yellowish-pink below and has a dark purple stripe with an aqua border that runs from the snout through the eye to the center of the gill cover and back along the center line of the body changing to red or yellow on the front part of the body then fading away further back on the body; they also have a black spot at the rear corner of their gill cover followed by a cream colored stripe. Their anal, caudal, and dorsal fins are pinkish with blue outer edges. Their head has teeth fused into a beak with two broad joined plates on each jaw. Their top jaw overlaps the lower jaw at the front and they have one or two canine teeth on the rear side of their top jaw. Their anal fin has three spines and nine rays; their caudal fin is bluntly rounded; their dorsal fin is continuous without a notch and with nine spines and ten rays. They have 40 to 51 gill rakers. Their lateral line has two sections and their body is covered with large scales.
The Striped Parrotfish are a schooling species found in coral reefs and associated seagrasses at depths up to 200 feet. Juveniles are found in seagrass beds. They reach a maximum length of 27 cm (11 inches). Their primary food source is algae. They are protogynous hermaphrodites with some males spawning individually with females and others in aggregations. They have a lifespan of up to eight years.
In Mexican waters the Striped Parrotfish are found in all waters of the Atlantic.
The Striped Parrotfish is most likely confused with the Princess Parrotfish, Scarus taeniopterus (no dark stripe from eye to gill cover).
Although small in stature, the Striped Parrotfish are fished and sold commercially. From a conservation perspective they are currently classified as of Least Concern with stable and abundant populations, however the continual loss of coral reefs is of concern to their long-term viability.
Striped Parrotfish, Scarus iseri, terminal phase (TP), male. Fish caught from coastal waters off the Silver Palm Park, Boca Raton, Florida, January 2016. Length: 21.5 cm (8.5 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Striped Parrotfish, Scarus iseri, terminal phase (TP), male. Fish caught off a coastal pier in Key Largo, Florida, December 2013. Length: 13.5 cm (5.3 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of Ben Cantrell, Peoria, IL.