Friday, June 22, 2012

Moon Wrasse

Thalassoma lunare
Today we're going to learn all about the beautifully colored Moon Wrasse, which gets its name from the crescent moon shaped pattern on its tail. They are also sometimes referred to as Lunar Wrasses and Cruscent Wrasses.

In the wild, Moon Wrasses can be found in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They prefer shallow, oxygen rich waters that are no deeper than about 60ft, and are most common in and around Coral Reefs. They are carnivorous, and feed on small invertebrates like crabs and starfish.

Moon Wrasses actually change color as they age, starting out with blueish bodies and black spots, and then becoming green, pink, and blue over time (with those bright yellow crescent tails!) These fish also have the fun distinction of being protogynous hermaphrodites. This means that they all start out as female, and that some will change and become male depending on different environmental triggers. This process only takes 10 days to complete!

Many Moon Wrasses live in small schools that are made up of females, juveniles, a dominant male, and sometimes a few other males as well. The dominant male is often more brightly colored than all of his school mates, and they will nip aggressively to maintain his position in the school and assert leadership. When it comes time to breed, he rounds up the females for a spawning frenzy.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Indian and Pacific Oceans
Size : Length up to 12in (30cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Perciformes
Family : Labridae -- Genus : Thalassoma -- Species : T. lunare

1 comment:

  1. It would be pretty cool to encounter one of these during a diving expedition! They are truly beautiful.

    ReplyDelete

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