The wrasses, family Labridae, constitute a conspicuous group of colorful and active reef fish at Kwaj and on reefs worldwide. Many species have multiple color forms as they transition from juvenile to female to male. Often males and females look so different they were originally described as completely different species before careful observation by divers revealed the true situation. Like the parrotfish, however, sometimes the color form between juvenile and terminal male may contain both males and females, so the term "initial phase" is sometimes used for species where it would take internal examination of the anatomy to distinguish between male and female. Wrasses are carnivores, different species eating a variety of benthic invertebrates and fish. Other species specialize on plankton, while a few species subsist on the parasites and mucus they pick off the bodies of other fish. More information about the individual species can be found on the pages linked below.
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References used to identify wrasses and to determine what is supposed to be in the Marshalls:
Myers, Robert F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes, third edition. Coral Graphics, Guam. 330pp.
Randall, John E. 2005. Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu. 707pp.
Randall, John E. & Helen A. Randall. 1987. Annotated Checklist of Fishes of Enewetak Atoll and Other Marshall Islands. In The Natural History of Enewetak Atoll, volume II, Biogeography and Systematics. DOE/EV/00703-T1-Vol.2. 287-384.
Randall, John E., Robert F. Myers, Michael N. Trevor, Scott R. and Jeanette L. Johnson, Satoshi Yoshii and Brian D. Greene. 2005. Ninety-one new records of fishes from the Marshall Islands. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 14:38, 115-132.
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