One parrot fish fact is that in some species, nearly all of them are born female. At this phase in their lives, the parrot fish have drab colors. As they mature, they acquire brighter coloration, and some females turn into males. In the last, terminal phase, all of the parrot fish are male. At this point, they have brilliant green and blue coloring.
Parrot fish also have teeth that are fused into beak-like plates in both jaws. These teeth give parrot fish their name. They have pharyngeal jaws, like a second set of jaws in the throat, with multiple rows of teeth that help them grind their food.
Parrot fish have an uninterrupted dorsal fin and smooth, disc-like, overlapping scales. These are called cycloid scales. Some species of parrot fish envelop themselves in mucous while they rest at night. This envelope is both bad-tasting and bad-smelling, and it discourages predators.
Most species of parrot fish are herbivorous. This diet keeps them in shallow water near coral reefs. The bump-headed parrot fish however eats live coral, which are actually animals.
There are 83 species of parrot fish that reside in North America. Among them are the blue parrot fish, the queen parrot fish, the scribble-faced parrot fish and the rainbow parrot fish.