Bumphead Parrotfish, Bolbometopon muricatum (Valenciennes 1840)

Other Names: Double-headed Parrotfish, Green Humphead Parrotfish, Humphead Parrotfish, Hump-head Parrotfish

Bumphead Parrotfish, Bolbometopon muricatum, at Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia. Source: Klaus Stiefel / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


Named for the prominent hump on the forehead, the Giant Bumphead Parrotfish is the largest known parrotfish - and the largest coral predator. This species is an important reef bioeroder - sand-makers on coral reefs.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Bolbometopon muricatum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 Jan 2020,

Bumphead Parrotfish, Bolbometopon muricatum (Valenciennes 1840)

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Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical Indo-West Pacific - from  the Red Sea eastwards to French Polynesia, north to Taiwan, southern Japan, and Wake Island, south to northern Australia and New Caledonia.

Occurs in small to large aggregations on outer lagoon and seawards reefs, and will also forage on outer reef flats at low tide.


Grows up to 1.5 m in length and 75 kg in weight.


Feeds mostly on live corals, but also consumes benthic algae. Individuals either bite off large chunks of coral with their powerful jaws and fused teeth, or use their large head to ram corals, breaking them into smaller pieces. David Bellwood at James Cook University, Townsville, estimates that a large Bumpdhead Parrotfish may consume as much as 5 tonnes of reef in one year - creating tonnes of coral reef sand in the process.


Spawns in large schools on outer reefs during summer months.


Heavily fished in most parts of its range.


  • IUCN Red List : Vulnerable
  • Although once considered common or abundant throughout much of its range, the species is now considered to be rare in many areas, due primarily to fishing pressure in many parts of its range.
  • Species Citation

    Scarus muricatus Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1840, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons Vol. 14: 208, pl. 402. Type locality: Java.


    Bray, D.J. 2018


    Australian Faunal Directory

    Bumphead Parrotfish, Bolbometopon muricatum (Valenciennes 1840)


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    Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

    Bellwood, D.R. 1994. A phylogenetic study of the parrotfish family Scaridae (Pisces: Labroidea), with a revision of genera. Records of the Australian Museum Supplement 20: 1–86 DOI:10.3853/j.0812-7387.20.1994.51 Open access

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    Bellwood, D.R., Hoey, A.S. & Choat, J.H. 2003. Limited functional redundancy to high diversity systems: resilience and ecosystem function on coral reefs. Ecology Letters 6: 281-285. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1461-0248.2003.00432.x

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    Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp.

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    Hamilton, R.J. & Choat, J.H. 2012. Bumphead Parrotfish - Bolbometopon muricatum pp. 490–496, in Sadovy de Mitcheson, Y. & Colin, P.L. (eds) Reef Fish Spawning Aggregations: Biology, Research and Management. New York: Springer. 

    Hoey, A.S. & Bellwood, D.R. 2008. Cross-shelf variation in the role of parrotfishes on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 27: 37. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-007-0287-x

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    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37386004

    Conservation:IUCN Vulnerable

    Depth:1-40 m

    Habitat:Reef associated

    Max Size:1.5 m; 75 kg

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