Animal Update: Bluehead Wrasse

A bluehead wrasse has been added to our Lurking gallery!

Published May 05, 2017

Bluehead wrasse are native to the western Atlantic Ocean. They are usually found around coral reefs, where they form large schools that drift over the reefs they inhabit and maintain. Small, but mighty, bluehead wrasses grow to be less than 4 inches long! bluehead-wrasse-on-exhibit

These fish forage for their food. They eat a variety of mollusks, crustaceans and zooplankton. As cleaner fish, they even eat parasites off other fish. 

Social structure is important to populations of male bluehead wrasses. These fish can change their sex to fit the needs of their population. Younger males, in the initial phase, are subordinate to those males in the terminal phase–meaning their gender has been established permanently as male. 

Much can be learned about these structures by looking at the color of these fish. When terminal phase males chase initial phase males, their color changes to a metallic green. However, when they are courting a female, they become pink or grey and form black circles on their fins. 

Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes updates!

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