The Mediterranean parrotfish (Sparisoma cretense) is a species of fish found at depths down to 50 metres (160 ft) along rocky shores of the Mediterranean and the east Atlantic from Portugal south to Senegal. Although some populations have been affected by fishing-pressure, it is quite common locally, for example at the Azores, where its behavior has been studied in detail.
It breeds during the summer, from July to September. It is a diurnal fish, but spawning, which occurs both in pairs and in groups, happens around dawn or dusk. It feeds mostly on epilithic and coralline algae, but also takes small invertebrates.
As its relatives, this parrotfish starts as female (known as the initial phase) and then changes to male (the terminal phase). However, unlike most of its relatives, it is a secondary gonochorist, meaning that some females do not change sex, and the ones that do, change from female to male while still immature (i.e., reproductively functioning females do not change to males). The initial phase is red and yellow with a greyish saddle, while the terminal phase is overall greyish. It reaches a maximum length of 50 centimetres (20 in), and there is an almost complete overlap in the size of females and males, though the former averages smaller than the latter.
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- Afonsoa, Moratoa & Santos (2008). Spatial patterns in reproductive traits of the temperate parrotfish Sparisoma cretense. Fisheries Research 90(1-3): 92-99
- de Girolamo, Scaggiante & Rasotto (1999). Social organization and sexual pattern in the Mediterranean parrotfish Sparisoma cretense (Teleostei: Scaridae). Marine Biology 135(2): 353-360
- Papoutsoglou & Lyndon (2003). Distribution of α-amylase along the alimentary tract of two Mediterranean fish species, the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense L. and the stargazer, Uranoscopus scaber L. Mediterranean Marine Science 4(2): 115-124
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- Projecto CLIPE (Project Clip) - Climate effect on ecology of fishes
- Projecto BARCA (Project Boat) - A project at Departamento de Oceanografia e Pescas da Universidade dos Açores (Department of Ocenography and Fishery) at the University of the Azores (Universidade dos Açores) and studies of traditional fisheries.