Species of the Month: Humphead Wrasse

Featured Photo credit: © Konstantin Tkachenko/Marine Photobank

 

Cheilinus undulatus – Tangafa                                 IUCN Red List of Species: Endangered

Other common names: Napoleon wrasse, Maori wrasse.

Family: Wrasses/Labridae                                       Max length: 2 meters

Maximum Age: 25 males and 32 females             Max weight: 190 kg/ 418lbs

Reproductive Maturity Age: 5 – 7 years

Idetified through their big thick lips and distinctive head shape, the Humphead wrasse is the largest of all the wrasse family.  During their lifetime, the wrasse will change colour and even sex!

This is called “Protogynous Heraphrodites” where some females will become males!

They have specialised conical teeth are used to eat molluscs (cowrie shells/pule),  crustaceans (crabs (Paka)/lobsters (‘Uo)), echinoderms (starfish) and other invertebrates. Adults may also feed upon the predatory Crown of Thorns (‘Alamea)!

One of  the most beautiful and majestic fishes, is also a highly prized fish for consumption but also for the live aquarium trade in Hong Kong. Both of these have led to extreme overfishing of the species.

References:

IUCN Red List: http://bit.ly/2tRG8Vw

World Wildlife Fund (WWF): http://bit.ly/2z8cwIJ

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