The Checkerboard Wrasse (Halichoeres hortulanus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the wrasse family. It is also known as the Marble Wrasse.
The Checkerboard Wrasse has a thin and elongated body. It is white to green in colour with blue to black on the ede of its scales, which looks like a checkerboard. Its head is greenish with pink lines and dots behind its eyes to the base of its dorsal (back) fin. It has a bright yellow spot near its dorsal fin. Both its sex and appearance change during its life.
It grows to to about 27 centimetres (11 inches) in length.
It is native to the waters of the Indian Ocean, from the Red Sea to South Africa, and in the central Pacific Ocean, near French Polynesia, Japan and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
It prefers clear lagoons and tropical reefs.
It is diurnal, active during the day. It is predominantly a solitary fish.
The Checkerboard Wrasse is a predator that feeds on crabs, shells, clams, worms, and other small aquatic animals.
The Checkerboard Wrasse starts its life as a female. When it is an adult, it becomes a male.
The young Checkerboard Wrasse is silvery white with three black and dark-red vertical patches on the back of its head and in the middle of its body. It also has a reddish line through its eyes.
[Location of photographs: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM