Sparisoma chrysopterum

Common Name

Redtail Parrotfish

Year Described

Bloch & Schneider, 1801


Dorsal Fin: IX, 10
Anal Fin: III, 9
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Pectoral Fin: 13
Gill Rakers: 15-20 (first arch)

A fairly robust parrotfish with a slightly convex frontal profile. Snout blunt. Teeth are fused into a beak but retain a scalloped cutting edge. Anterior nostril with a fleshy flap and up to 6 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 and head dark blue to turquoise blue, with duller scale centers. Lower head and belly bright turquoise. Often with a yellow sheen dorsally and ventrally. A bright blue area right behind pectoral fin base. Eye pink. Dorsal fin yellowish to pink. Anal fin pinkish to bluish. Pectoral fin yellowish with a dark blotch at the base. Caudal fin with a blue, white, and red crescent (blue crescent often replaced with red) and turquoise lobes. INITIAL PHASE: Body and head heavily mottled with white, olive, and reddish-brown. Belly is red with thick white scale edging. Darker markings often form broken bars. Head with numerous white spots surrounded by red reticulations. White often has turquoise hue on head and tail area. Fins are heavily marked with red and white. Caudal fin with a pink and red crescent and banded lobes. JUVENILES: Reddish brown with two lateral white stripes. A dark blotch at upper opercular edge. Eye red.


Maximum size to 460mm TL.


Coral reefs and seagrass beds as adults, grass beds as juveniles.


S. Florida to the S. Caribbean, 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.