Indian Ocean Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus strongylocephalus Bleeker 1854

Other Names: Heavybeak Parrotfish, Indian Ocean Steephead Parrotfish, Purple-headed Parrotfish

A male Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus strongylocephalus - Egypt, Red Sea. Source: Mattia Menchetti / iNaturalist. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A large parrotfish with a steep head profile giving the head a rounded shape, and a lunate tail with long caudal-fin lobes. Males are greenish to bluish-green with a pinkish-lilac streak on each body scale, and a large yellow patch on the cheek. Females are yellowish-green to greyish above, and brown to pinkish below, with dark green around the mouth and dark bluish-green margins on the tail.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Chlorurus strongylocephalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 Jan 2020,

Indian Ocean Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus strongylocephalus Bleeker 1854

More Info


Recorded in the Australian EEZ from Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. The species occurs in the Indian Ocean from East Africa to southwest Indonesia, and north to the Andaman Sea.
Inhabits outer reef flats and reef fronts in coastal lagoons and outer reefs.


Commercially fished in parts of its range.

Species Citation

Scarus strongylocephalus Bleeker, 1854, Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 7: 439. Type locality: Jakarta (as Batavia), Indonesia.


Dianne J. Bray

Indian Ocean Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus strongylocephalus Bleeker 1854


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.
Bellwood, D.R. 1994. A phylogenetic study of the parrotfishes family Scaridae (Pisces: Labroidei), with a revision of genera. Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 20: 1-86.

Bellwood, D.R. 2001. Scaridae. pp. 3468-3492 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Bleeker, P. 1854. Specierum piscium javanensium novarum vel minus cognitarum diagnoses adumbratae. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 7: 415-448.

Choat, J.H., Carpenter, K.E., Clements, K.D., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B., Myers, R., Lazuardi, M.E., Muljadi, A., Pardede, S. & Rahardjo, P. 2012. Chlorurus strongylocephalus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. . Downloaded on 14 May 2014.

Choat, J.H. & Randall, J.E. 1986. A review of the parrotfishes (Family Scaridae) of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia with description of a new species. Records of the Australian Museum 38: 175-228.

Hobbs, J.-P.A., Ayling, A.M., Choat, J.H., Gilligan, J.J., McDonald, C.A., Neilson, J. & Newman, S.J. 2010. New records of marine fishes illustrate the biogeographic importance of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 2422: 63–68.

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, Grahamstown 47: 1-39, Pls. 1-6.

Smith, L.L., Fessler, J.L., Alfaro, M.E., Streelman, J.T. & Westneat, M.W. 2008. Phylogenetic relationships and the evolution of regulatory gene sequences in the parrotfishes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49: 136-152.

Westneat, M.W. & Alfaro, M.E. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of the reef fish family Labridae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 370-390.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37386040

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-35 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:70 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map