Sparisoma aurofrenatum

Common Name

Redband Parrotfish

Year Described

Valenciennes, 1840


Dorsal Fin: IX, 10
Anal Fin: III, 9
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Pectoral Fin: 12
Gill Rakers: 11-16 (first arch)

A fairly robust parrotfish with a straight frontal profile. Snout blunt. Teeth are fused into a beak but retain a scalloped cutting edge. Anterior nostril with a fleshy flap and 4-8 cirri. Lower teeth overhang upper when jaws are closed. Caudal fin truncate in juveniles, emarginate in IP individuals, and lunate in TP individuals. Body, rear of head, and median fin bases with scales. Predorsal scales usually four. A single row of scales on cheek.


TERMINAL PHASE: Body blue-gray to blue-green above grading into a bright white flank and belly. There is usually a pink wash on the mid-belly and a bright yellow wash above the anal fin. The top of the head is grass green to blue-green with a dark-edged pink stripe from the corner of the mouth to the opercle. A yellow and black blotch is present behind the opercular margin on the upper back. This stripe breaks up into pink spots on the rear of the head. The cheek and lower head are blue-green. Eye bright red. The dorsal fin is brownish-red to orange. The anal fin is bright red to magenta. The pelvic fin is pale. The pectoral fin is yellowish with a dark blotch at the base. The caudal fin has a crescent-shaped yellow center and a bluish rear margin. The upper and lower caudal lobes are reddish with dark tips. INITIAL PHASE: Body is a dull olive green above, becoming steel blue or dark blue-green on the sides. The belly and lower head are dark red. Variable white markings on scales can be present. A white saddle marking is usually present on the caudal peduncle. The median and pelvic fins are dark red. Eye dark to red. Individuals can display a very complex pattern of white mottling over the entire body and fins, especially when near the bottom or sleeping. JUVENILES: reddish to purplish with two lateral white stripes, one starting above the eye and one under the eye. A yellow wash on the lower head and pectoral region. A large dark blotch is over the pectoral fin. Fins reddish with lighter lines and spots. Eye red. Individuals near the bottom and in seagrass display a heavily mottled white pattern.


Maximum size to 280mm TL.


Adults are found on coral reefs. Juveniles live in seagrass meadows.


S. Florida to Brazil, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Also Bermuda.


McEachran, J.D. & J.D. Fechhelm. 2005. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 2: Scorpaeniformes to Tetraodontiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii +1-1004.