If you have visited the Aquarium’s Blacktip Reef exhibit, you are probably familiar with the humphead wrasse—a large, blue fish with bulging eyes, big lips and a characteristic hump on its head. The wrasse’s name is Tang, which is short for Tangaroa, the Maori god of the sea.
The new humphead wrasse, nicknamed Cena, looks nothing like her counterpart. This young female wrasse is only about 10 inches long and pale. Reddish-brown patterns cover her body, and distinct, dark facial markings extend from her eyes.
Like some other reef fishes, the humphead wrasse is a protogynous hermaphrodite. That means these fish begin life as female, with some individuals later becoming male. The Blacktip Reef team believes the new wrasse will remain female, because Tang is already the dominant male in the exhibit, but only time will tell.
Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes updates!