Burnt parrotfish

Chlorurus sordidus
Perroquet Brûlè
Pa'ati pa'a pa'a auahi (Society)

Interesting facts

With the exception of one species (Leptoscarus vaigiensis), parrotfish are hermaphrodite: they are born female and take male characteristics during their growth, they are protogynous species. Most have spectacular colors, which vary according to the age, sex and mood of individuals. Their dentition, which inspires the comparison with the parrots, is one of the characteristics of the family: their incisors are welded into four dental plates (two for each jaw), some species, especially those of the genus Calotomus, being the exception. Pharyngeal teeth then crush the collected contents. They are among the worst enemies of coral and contribute to reef erosion and sediment formation, thus contributing to the formation of sand in tropical beaches. With their powerful jaws, they continually scrape the coral to find the green algae from which they feed and swallow fragments of coral to facilitate their digestion. Some are however corallivores optional, others are herbivorous and do not touch coral. At night they find refuge in the reef's nooks and crannies and some species wrap themselves in a cocoon of mucus to protect themselves from parasites (isopod crustaceans in particular), and probably also from their predators. Consumption of the flesh of these fish can cause a type of poisoning called ciguatera.


P. Bacchet, T. Zysman, Y. Lefèvre, 2010. Guide des poissons de Tahiti et ses îles. Au vent des îles. 3e édition. http://fran.cornu.free.fr/affichage/affichage_nom.php?id_espece=1128