Cheilinus undulatus Rьppell, 1835, Jidda, Saudi Arabia, Red Sea.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Maori wrasse, Napoleon wrasse; French: Napolйon; Spanish: Napoleуn.
Length 5 ft (about 1.5 m), although a few have been recorded at more than 8.2 ft (2.5 m); one of the largest reef fishes. The large adult has distinctive hump on the top of the blue-fronted, small-eyed, thick-lipped head; rest of the body is yellowish green. Juveniles pale green, with horizontally placed spots or bar extending down the sides of the body.
Much of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, east through Indonesia to Tuamotus, French Polynesia, and north to southern Japan.
Juveniles frequent sea grass beds and reef lagoons. Adults prefer deeper reef areas to 325 ft (100 m) deep.
Shy, diurnal, remains among reef refuges at night. Usually solitary, but will sometimes live in pairs or in small groups.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds during the day, primarily on mollusks, but also takes fishes, as well as other invertebrates such as brittle stars and sea urchins.
Both small and large spawning aggregations form, but fishes pair up for mating. No parental care. Sex reversal has been noted, in which females develop into mature males.
Listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Commercial food fish whose intensive exploitation has led to concern for the survial of local populations of this species. Also popular aesthetically to divers.
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