Tag: Wrasses (Labridae)

The Wrasse (Labridae) family is second only to the Goby (Gobiidae) family in terms of numbers of species (approximately 600 species).

They are found in tropical waters throughout the world and are a favourite with divers and snorkelers due to their incredible variety of colours and bold, inquisitive nature.

Many Wrasse species are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they are capable of changing sex, and more specifically, changing from female to male.

Juveniles are a mixture of both male and female (known as Initial Phase or IP individuals), with the largest adults becoming territory-holding (Terminal Phase or TP males).

Individuals which are between Intitial and Terminal phases are referred to as being in their Intermediate phase.

As popular as they are, many of the smaller species of Wrasse prove to be a very difficult subject to photograph due to their highly erratic swimming patterns.

Positive identification can also prove difficult in many cases due to radical differences between juvenile/adult - male/female. This fact is reflected in the "inconclusive" identification status of some species in this gallery.

The Wrasse (Labridae) family is second only to the Goby (Gobiidae) family in terms of numbers of species (approximately 600 species).

They are found in tropical waters throughout the world and are a favourite with divers and snorkelers due to their incredible variety of colours and bold, inquisitive nature.

Many Wrasse species are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they are capable of changing sex, and more specifically, changing from female to male.

Juveniles are a mixture of both male and female (known as Initial Phase or IP individuals), with the largest adults becoming territory-holding (Terminal Phase or TP males).

Individuals which are between Intitial and Terminal phases are referred to as being in their Intermediate phase.

As popular as they are, many of the smaller species of Wrasse prove to be a very difficult subject to photograph due to their highly erratic swimming patterns.

Positive identification can also prove difficult in many cases due to radical differences between juvenile/adult - male/female. This fact is reflected in the "inconclusive" identification status of some species in this gallery.

Alan's picture
Moon Wrasse (Thalassoma lunare) - dominant male with subordinates

A single dominant male Moon Wrasse (Thalassoma lunare) carefully guards its harem of "intermediate phase" females (and subordinate males) during a period of spawning at Sail Rock.

Alan's picture
Teira Batfish (Platax Teira) with Blue-Streak Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides Dimidiatus)

Teira Batfish (Platax Teira) are one of the most approachable and photogenic of all local fish species, particularly when they break away from the main group to seek out the services of Blue-Streak Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides Dimidiatus) at a "cleaning station" as was the case in this photo taken at

Alan's picture
Malabar Grouper (Epinephelus Malabaricus)

A large Malabar Grouper (Epinephelus Malabaricus) seeks out the cleaning "services" of a Blue-Streak Cleaner Wr

Alan's picture
Pick-Handle Barracuda (Sphyraena Jello)

For the many species that regularly attend a "cleaning station", such as those provided by the Blue-Streak Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides Dimidiatus), it is customary to inform the cleaners that they are not on the menu (for the time being at least!).

Alan's picture
Red-Breasted Maori Wrasse juvenile (Cheilinus Fasciatus)

This grainy photo shows a tiny Red-Breasted Maori Wrasse (Cheilinus Fasciatus) at perhaps the youngest phase at which it is recognizable as this species.

Alan's picture
Blue-Ringed Angelfish (Pomacanthus Annularis) with Blue-Streak Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides Dimidiatus)

A Blue-Streak Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides Dimidiatus) offers its cleaning service to a Blue-Ringed Angelfish (Pomacanthus Annularis) in this photo taken at Sail Rock.

Alan's picture
Redbreasted Maori Wrasse juvenile (Cheilinus Fasciatus)

This photo of a juvenile Redbreasted Maori Wrasse (Cheilinus Fasciatus) clearly shows the distinct lack of the red colouration present in more mature specimens.
The red colour becomes more prominent as the individual ages.

Alan's picture
Redbreasted Maori Wrasse (Cheilinus Fasciatus)

An adult Redbreasted Maori Wrasse (Cheilinus Fasciatus) showing the distinctive "red breast" markings from which the name derives, followed by the equally distinctive black and white stripes.

The red colouration becomes more distinctive with age and is less apparent in juveniles..

Alan's picture
Pastel Green Wrasse male (Halichoeres Chloropterus)

The male Pastel Green Wrasse (Halichoeres Chloropterus) has noticeably different colouration to the female.

Alan's picture
Pastel Green Wrasse female (Halichoeres Chloropterus)

A female Pastel Green Wrasse (Halichoeres Chloropterus) clearly showing the tiny dark spots that are characteristic of the female of this species.

This also shows how the overall colour of the female is generally less distinctive than that of the male.