WRASSES
LABRIDAE
Yellowhead Wrasse
Halichoeres garnoti
    Ecological Descriptors
Habitat Size (cm) Diet Behaviour Sex 
Co, R 19 Ech, Cru, Mol I, Sh PGH
 
 
General:
Most wrasses are protogynous hermaphrodites, with some Initial Phase (IP) females, turning into Terminal Phase (TP) males once they reach a certain size. Those individuals who remain female in TP, retain the markings of IP. Juveniles often have the same colouration as IP females.

Description
:
Terminal phase (Males): Anterior part of the body and the
head yellow. Halfway the body there is a black cross-band that curves backward at the dorsal fin and runs along its base to the tail. Rear body and tail dark blue to green. Two wavy lines radiate from the rear of the upper part of the eye.
Initial phase: Body with a yellow belly and a dark to dusky back, often shaded with blue. Color shadings highly variable, especially intermediates between terminal and juveniles phases.
Two wavy lines radiate from the rear of the upper part of the eye.
Juvenile phase: Usually bright yellow, rarely shading to reddish gold, with a brilliant blue
midbody stripe.

Ecology
This species is reef associated and is found at depths of 2-90m (6-290ft). It is commonly found on shallow and deep reefs and exposed rocky ledges.  It feeds on various invertebrates.

Life Cycle
:
It is a protogynous hermaphrodite. Length at sex change ~7.5 cm.  It forms leks during breeding.

Pelagic spawners. One male, in terminal phase, spawns with many females in the initial phase (sexually mature). This reproduction process occurs daily before sunset. Subsequent to the hatching of the eggs, larvae are also pelagic, and remain above the bottom of the ocean subject to the ocean currents, until they are settled at relatively large sizes (9-12mm) on the reef. Although all are initially female and have the ability to change sex, the females that are larger are usually the prime candidates to become male since males are larger than females.
Yellowhead Wrasse Male
Yellowhead Wrasse
Juvenile
Yellowhead Wrasse
IP/ TP Female
(C) Dr P Ryan/ RyanPhotographic
(C) Kevin Bryant
Yellowhead Wrasse Male
Yellowhead Wrasse
IP/ TP Female
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