Fish ID: The Checkerboard wrasse
by Cindy
in Blog
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everything you always wanted to know about "checkerboard wrasse"

- It starts his life as a female then will change its sex to a male later in life
- It changes colors during its life
- Females are lager and more colorful than males
- As a defense mechanism they shoot water at potential threats

Where to find them?

You can find checkerboard wrasses in almost every seas of the world. From the Red Sea to South Africa, in the Indian Ocean, French Polynesia, and Central Pacific Ocean.

To find them in their habitats, you need to look in shallow waters near coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, or other types of vegetation. As they like to hide you can also find them sometimes under rocks. 

How long do they live?

On average their lifespan is about 15 years, but some specimens have been spotted through a timeframe of 25 years.

What size are they?

The checkerboard wrasse is a small sized fish that can reach up to 27cm length. 

How many species?

The checkerboard wrass is part of the large family of the wrasses that amounts a total of more than 500 different species. 
Its population is estimated about 10'000 around the world.

How do they reproduce?

The checkerboard wrass has 2 different ways to reproduce. It can be external fertilization or internal egg-laying. In this case, females will release eggs alongside their male's partner's sperm into the open water for them to come together inside of her body as she releases these unfertilized eggs externally the following mating this way.

How & what do they eat?

Checkerboard wrasses are carnivores. They eat small crustaceans such as shrimp, lobster and crabs from their habitats. They can also sometimes eat oyster.

Checkerboard wrasse uses its coloration blends to match with their surroundings to be protected and at the same time to be able to hunt crustaceans, small fishes and worms.

How do they move?

The checkerboard wrass is not a fast swimmer, but it can swim til about 10 km/h. Of course their speed will depend on the current and the depth. As their dorsal fin is not able to give them a good stability for propulsion, they are not good swimmers in deep water.

Who are their predators?

Their main threats are barracudas, sharks, and eels. As a defense mechanism they shoot water at potential threats.

What people usually ignore?

We still ignore how they communicate, even though they seem to have a specific way to "talk" with each other. 

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