|Perciformes (perc- ‘perch’ iformes- ‘form)
Taxonomy: Superclass Gnathostomata
10 Genera ~90 species
There is also debate about whether Scaridae is truly a family, or actually a subfamily in the family of Larbidae. However, the phylogenetic analysis is still ongoing so they can be referred to as either Scaridae or Scarinae.
Description: Parrotfish get their name from the way their teeth align to form a ‘beak’. This style allows them to scarp algae off the sides of coral. Most species are very colorful and are common in tropical areas. The average size is between 1-2 feet, but a few species can grow up to 4. Another common characteristic among scarides is the ability to excrete mucus, which they use to cover themselves before falling asleep.
Habitat: Fresh water lakes and rivers.
Distribution: South America, Africa, Australia, and Southern Asia
Ecology and Life Cycle: Varies from species to species. However, they have a typical cycle of reproduction, egg, then growth from larval to adult fish.
Additional Details: Many South American species, like Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, are raised for personal aquariums. This order ranges wildly for size, the smallest is only 2 cm, and the largest 2.5 meters. Evidence has been found that suggests all Osteoglossiformes came from one population in Gondwana before the continent fragmented.
Research: Alphonse A., K. Winemiller, and E. Fiogbe. Ontogenetic, seasonal, and spatial variation in the diet of Heterotis niloticus (Osteoglossiformes: Osteoglossidae) in the So River and Lake Hlan, Benin, West Africa. Environmental Biology of Fishes 73:367-378. August 2005