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Adult queen parrotfishes are heavy-bodied fish with fusiform (spindle-shaped) bodies and beak-like mouths, growing to a length of about 60 cm (24 in). They have two different color phases. Among smaller fish, the sexes are similar but nearly all individuals are female, being reddish-brown or grayish-brown with a paler head and a white lateral stripe low on each flank, and that remains the color scheme for females even when they grow larger. At an average length of 25 cm (10 in), females change sex to become males. The larger males move on to a new color phase, becoming pale bluish-green, with blue spots near the mouth, yellowish streaks between the mouth and eye, and pale blue bars on the pectoral fins. The queen parrotfish feeds primarily on the algal turf it can scrape off surfaces, but may also eat sponges and other encrusting organisms as it feeds. In the process, it swallows a lot of mineral particles which are deposited on the seabed as fine sand. It is a diurnal fish, and rests on the seabed or hides in a crevice at night, immersed in a layer of mucus that it exudes and which may help to disguise it from predators. It is preyed on by sharks, groupers and eels.
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