Sparisoma cretense 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Labridae

Scientific Name: Sparisoma cretense (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Parrotfish
French Perroquet, Perroquet Vieillard
Spanish Loro Viejo, Vieja, Viela Colorada
Euscarus cretensis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Labrus cretensis Linnaeus, 1758
Labrus xantherythrus Rafinesque, 1810
Scarus canariensis Valenciennes, 1838
Scarus cretensis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Scarus mutabilis Lowe, 1838
Scarus rubiginoides Guichenot, 1865
Scarus rubiginosus Valenciennes, 1840
Sparidosoma cretense (Linnaeus, 1758)
Taxonomic Notes: Westneat and Alfaro (2005) recognize the Scarini as a tribe within the family Labridae.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2009-09-15
Assessor(s): Pollard, D., Yokes, B., Francour, P., Rocha, L.A., Choat, J.H., Clements, K.D., Russell, B., Myers, R., Lazuardi, M.E., Muljadi, A., Pardede, S. & Rahardjo, P.
Reviewer(s): McIlwain, J. & Craig, M.T.
This species is widespread in the Mediterranean Sea and is relatively abundant there and in the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. Its populations there are at least stable, and the species’northerly distribution in the Mediterranean may increase with warming sea temperatures in the future. Little is known of populations outside the Mediterranean, but there are no known major threats and it is assessed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found in the eastern Atlantic from Portugal to Senegal, including the Azores, Madeira, Canaries and Cape Verde Islands. It is present throughout most of the Mediterranean Sea, except for parts of the north-western coast and most of the Adriatic Sea.

In the Mediterranean, Sparisoma cretense is more common along the eastern and southern coasts. It has also been recorded from south-eastern Italy (Guidetti 2001) and the Adriatic Sea (Dulcic and Pallaoro 2001), and also around Sardinia.
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Cape Verde; Cyprus; Egypt; France; Gibraltar; Greece; Israel; Italy; Lebanon; Libya; Malta; Mauritania; Morocco; Portugal (Azores, Madeira, Portugal (mainland), Selvagens); Senegal; Spain (Canary Is., Spain (mainland)); Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – northeast; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):50
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In the Mediterranean Sea, this species is uncommon in the northern Aegean Sea but very common in the southern Aegean Sea (B. Yokes pers comm. 2007). It is also relatively uncommon in the north-western Mediterranean including Spain and France (P. Francour pers comm. 2007).

This species is common in the Canary Islands and in Cape Verde. It is considered one of the top two most common parrotfishes in Cape Verde (L. Rocha pers comm. 2009).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a reef-associated species that generally occurs in shallow water along rocky shores. It feeds on algae and also small invertebrates (Quignard and Pras 1986, Abecasis et al. 2005). It is primarily herbivorous, with specialized pharyngeal bones and muscles (Bullock and Monod 1997, Monod et al. 1994). Breeding occurs from July to September, with juveniles recruiting in the late summer (Abecasis et al. 2005).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is targeted by spearfishers in the Canary Islands. It is caught and sold as bycatch in parts of its range.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known major threats to this species.

Parrotfishes show varying degrees of habitat preference and utilization of coral reef habitats, with some species spending the majority of their life stages on coral reefs, while others primarily utilize seagrass beds, mangroves, algal beds, and /or rocky reefs. Although the majority of the parrotfishes occur in mixed habitat (primarily inhabiting seagrass beds, mangroves, and rocky reefs) approximately 78% of these mixed habitat species are experiencing greater than 30% loss of coral reef area and habitat quality across their distributions. Of those species that occur exclusively in coral reef habitat, more than 80% are experiencing a greater than 30% of coral reef loss and degradation across their distributions. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of habitat loss and degradation on these species populations.   Widespread coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for species that depend on live coral reefs for food and shelter especially as studies have shown that protection of pristine habitats facilitate the persistence of adult populations in species that have spatially separated adult and juvenile habitats. Furthermore, coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for some corallivorous excavating parrotfishes that play major roles in reef dynamics and sedimentation (Comeros-Raynal et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. However, its distribution overlaps several marine protected areas within its range.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.3. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.7. Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Abecasis, D., Bentes, L., Ribeiro, J., Machado, D., Oliveira, F., Veiga, P., Gonçalves, J.M.S. and Erzini, K. 2005. First record of the Mediterranean parrotfish, Sparisoma cretense in Ria Formosa (south Portugal). Marine Biodiversity Records 1: e27.

Afonso, P., Fontes, J., Holland, K.N. and Santos, R.S. 2008. Social status determines behaviour and habitat usage in a temperate parrotfish: implications for marine reserve design. Marine Ecology Progress Series 359: 215-227.

Afonso, P., Morato, T. and Santos, R.S. 2008. Spatial patterns in reproductive traits of the temperate parrotfish Sparisoma cretense. Fisheries Research 90(1-3): 92-99.

Bullock, A.E. and Monod, T. 1997. Myologie céphalique de deux poissons perroquets (Teleostei: Scaridae). Cybium 21(2): 173-199.

Comeros-Raynal, M.T., Choat, J.H., Polidoro, B.A., Clements, K.D., Abesamis, R., Craig, M.T., Lazuardi, M.E., McIlwain, J., Muljadi, A., Myers, R.F., Nañola Jr., C.L., Pardede, S., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B., Sanciangco, J.C., Stockwell, B., Harwell, H. and Carpenter, K.E. 2012. The likelihood of extinction of iconic and dominant components of coral reefs: the parrotfishes and surgeonfishes. PLoS ONE

Dulcic, J. and Pallaoro, A. 2001. Some new data on Xyrichthys novacula (Linnaeus, 1758) and Sparisoma (Euscarus) cretense (Linnaeus, 1758) from the eastern Adriatic. Annales 1: 35-42.

Guidetti, P. and Boero, F. 2001. Occurrence of the Mediterranean parrotfish Sparisoma cretense (Perciformes: Scaridae) in south-eastern Apulia (south-east Italy). Journal of the Marine Biology Association of the U.K. 81(4): 717-718.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.2). Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2012).

Monod, T., Hureau, J.C. and Bullock, A.E. 1994. Ostéologie céphalique de deux poissons perroquets (Scaridae: Teleostei). Cybium 18(2): 135-168.

Quignard, J.-P. and Pras, A. 1986. Scaridae. In: P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds), Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, pp. 943-944. UNESCO, Paris.

Tuya, F., Borges, L., Sanchez-Jerez, P. and Haroun, R.J. 2006. Effect of fishing pressure on the spatio-temporal variability of the parrotfish, Sparisoma cretense (Pisces : Scaridae), across the Canarian Archipelago (eastern Atlantic). Fisheries Research 77(1): 24-33.

Tuya, F., Garcia-Diez, C., Espino, F. and Haroun, R.J. 2006. Assessment of the effectiveness of two marine reserves in the Canary Islands (eastern Atlantic). Ciencias Marinas 32(3): 505-522.

Westneat, M. W. and Alfaro, M.E. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of the reef fish family Labridae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 370–390.

Citation: Pollard, D., Yokes, B., Francour, P., Rocha, L.A., Choat, J.H., Clements, K.D., Russell, B., Myers, R., Lazuardi, M.E., Muljadi, A., Pardede, S. & Rahardjo, P. 2012. Sparisoma cretense. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T190710A17796845. . Downloaded on 25 May 2018.
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