Tuesday, 14 July 2020


The Bluehead Wrasse, Thalassoma bifasciatum, live in coral reefs of the Atlantic Ocean. They range from the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf of Mexico. They are an interesting species in that they live in harems. 

When the male dies, one of the females transforms into a male and take control of the harem. It's a relatively quick takeover that happens just over a week. Taking control and exuding their maleness takes on a whole new meaning with Bluehead Wrasse. The males have a specific social system. Terminal phase males — which are the most aggressive and have the "highest" ranking among the males — and initial phase males — think horn-dog as they'll mate any chance they get in a larger group.  

When aggressive terminal phase males chase initial phase males, their colour changes to metallic green. Like flowers attracting bees, Bluehead Wrasse change colour to indicate their willingness to mate. When they are courting a female, Wrasse change to a soothing pinkish-grey (awe) and form black circles on their fins. It's the Wrassy equivalent to bring her a bouquet of flowers. Initial phase males, terminal phase males, and females all have the capability of reproducing. Tricky little bastards these Wrasse.