Scarus russelii (Valenciennes, 1840)
Scarus russelii (Valenciennes, 1840)
Genus: , ,

Scientific Name: Scarus russelii

English Name: Eclipse parrotfish

Creole Name: Kakatwa (Initial Phase: "Lamouta")

French Name: Perroquet éclipse

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 9; Dorsal rays: 10; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 9

Medium-sized parrotfish. Dental plates 3/4 to completely covered by lips; 0-2 canine teeth on upper and lower dental plates (small initial-phase adults 
usually with 0-1 upper and 0 lower canines; larger initial-phase fish usually with 1 or 2 upper and 0 lower canines; terminal males usually with 2 upper 
and 1 or 2 lower canines). Dental plates white in both phases. Caudal fin slightly rounded to sometimes slightly emarginate in Initial phase and double 
emarginate on terminal males with the lobes moderately prolonged.

Initial Phase. Salient characteristics: body reddish to purplish brown. Each scale with an anterior orange-red bar. 5 darks bars apparent on flanks. 
Orange-red iris. Blue-grey edge to dorsal and anal fins. Caudal fin redder in colour.

Detailed description (from Randall & Bruce 1983): reddish to purplish brown with an orange-red bar on each scale. 5 dark bars often present on body. 3 
longitudinal dark bands often present on abdomen. Lips dull red-orange, the lower lip and front of upper lip edged with blue-green. A transverse dull 
blue-green band crossing front of snout, joining band from lower lip and continuing faintly to orbit. A broad transverse dull blue-green band on chin and 
a longitudinal one ventrally on head and thorax. Three faint dull blue-green to grey bands extending a short distance posteriorly from orbit. Dorsal and 
anal fins dull orange with a bluish grey margin and a median row of dull greenish spots, one per membrane; a row of dull greenish spots sometimes present 
along base of  fins. Caudal fin dark reddish, the upper and lower edges bluish grey. Pectoral fins with brownish red rays, membranes pale, the upper edge 
bluish grey; an indistinct dark brown spot at upper base of pectoral fin. Pelvic fins orangish brown, the lateral edge bluish grey.

Terminal phase. Salient characteristics: body blue green in colour, scales with posterior pink bar. Distinctive two tone body colouration, body anterior 
to anal fin dark green, from anal fin origin to caudal peduncle much brighter and paler green. Bright yellow horizontally elongated patch on lower cheek. 
Dorsal and anal fins orange, bisected by green line, with blue margin. Pectoral fins reddish pink with blue-green upper edge. Caudal fin orange with green
bars and spots, lobes purple with blue margin.

Detailed description (from Randall & Bruce 1983): body blue-green, scales rimmed with salmon-pink (posteriorly with a vertically elongate salmon bar on 
each scale); postorbital head and body anterior to a line from base of ninth dorsal spine to origin of anal fin suffused with purplish, this nearly 
obliterating the green and salmon colour on some specimens. Interorbital and dorsal part of snout blue-green. Region around eye and upper cheek 
salmon-pink. Lower cheek with an area of deep yellow. Upper lip bright blue-green, enclosing an area of salmon. Lower lip edged in bright blue-green, 
the colour from both lips joining at corner of mouth and continuing as a band beneath and adjacent to orbit onto operculum. A deep blue-green band along 
upper orbit and extending a short distance dorsoposteriorly. Another short blue-green band passing posteriorly from central edge of orbit. A large 
irregular quadrangular enclosure of blue-green on opercle at level of upper pectoral base. A short transverse blue-green band on chin and a longitudinal 
one ventrally on head. Dorsal and anal fins orange with turquoise borders, and a median green longitudinal band or row of green spots; green scales 
basally on dorsal and anal fins give green-spotted pattern. Caudal fin orange with upper and lower turquoise borders, a vertically elongate quadrangular 
enclosure of green in centre of fin, the upper and lower edges of which continue as bands to posterior margin of fin; some irregular blue-green bands 
basally in caudal fin and 2 or 3 small blue-green spots in a vertical row posterior to blue-green quadrangle. Pectoral rays orange to red distally and 
green basally, the membranes  pale, the upper edge blue-green, this continuous with a band of blue-green across base; upper extreme base of pectoral fin 
with a deep violet spot; pelvic fins salmon, the lateral edge turquoise, the medial 3 rays streaked with blue.


Maturity: Lm unknown. Range unknown. Max Length: 51 cm TL.

Habitat and Ecology:

Inhabits coastal reefs, lagoons and outer reef slopes (depth 6-15 m). Feeds on algae by grazing on sand or coral rubble. Usually found singly but sometimes 
forms schools in sheltered reef slope and lagoon habitats. Oviparous, distinct pairing during breeding.

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught in the trap fishery and is the second most common parrotfish species by 
weight in the catch (Nevill 2020). 


Fish of both colour phases are able to change colour patterns rapidly. The bars of the initial phase vary from faint to very distinct. Terminal phase 
specimens may exhibit an extremely contrasting pattern of dark purplish on the front half of the body and abruptly pale green posteriorly to the caudal 
peduncle where the darker purplish colour again predominates (Randall & Bruce 1983).


Choat, J.H. et al. (2012). Scarus russelii. The IUCN Red List 2012: (01/04/19).
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. (Eds.) (2019). FishBase. (01/04/19).
Nevill, J.E.G. (2020). Assessment and Valuation of the Parrotfish Fishery to Support an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries. Project Report. 
Randall, J.E. & Bruce, R.W. (1983). The Parrotfishes of the Subfamily Scarinae of the Western Indian Ocean with Descriptions of Three New species. 
Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology. Number 47 March1983 ISSN: 0073-4381


Nevill, J.E.G. (2019). Scarus russelii, Eclipse parrotfish. Seychelles Seatizens. (updated 21/08/22)

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