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Species guide

Humphead wrasse

Scientific name: Cheilinus undulatus

DESCRIPTION:
The humphead wrasse is a large fish with a highly developed head, a large mouth and thick, fleshy lips. Adult individuals are green with a protuberance on their forehead that reminds one of a hump.
Its maximum size is 2 m and its maximum we

BIOLOGY:
It is a territorial, solitary animal. During the day it usually swims near the reef without moving very far, and at night it looks for a cave to rest. There are animals over 30 years old, and it is believed that the males can reach an age of 25 and the females 32.
It is a carnivore that feeds on molluscs, crustaceans and equinoderms such as star fish and sea urchins, which it catches with its protractile jaw and the teeth at the rear of its head. If the prey tries to escape or hide under the sand, it may dig it up by spitting powerful jets of water. It is capable of eating toxic prey such as the thorn crown star-fish and chest fish.
It is an oviparous fish and a hermaphrodite, and the adult females can change sex and become male. When the time comes to reproduce, they form more or less numerous groups and mate in the open sea.

HABITAT:
It is a fish that lives in the coral shields, at a depth of between 1 and 60 m.

DISTRIBUTION:
It is found in the Pacific and the Red Sea.

STATUS:
Endangered species (according to the red list of endangered species).

CURIOSITIES:
Unfortunately, it is not easy to see adult animals as they have been overcaught. In Japan, for instance, they are caught for their aphrodisiacal properties.