With about 500 species, the Labridae family (wrasse) is the second-largest family of marine fishes.
Wrasse species appear in a diverse range of size, shape and color, sometimes varying considerably even within a single species, as they proceed through several distinct phases during their life.
Wrasses are among the most abundant and conspicuous fish on shallow coral reefs, but also in temperate seas. Some wrasse can be really inquisitive, making them some of the easiest fish to see and photograph while snorkeling.
The largest (and also the most famous) species in this family is the Maori wrasse, which can reach a length of more than 6ft/2m. It is mainly seen on the Great Barrier Reef and in the Tuamotu Islands, where some individuals are almost tame.
Thalassoma genera wrasses, bright and colorful, are common over coral reefs around the world. The sixbar wrasse, widely distributed from East Africa to French Polynesia, is certainly the most common in the Indo-Pacific.
In the Caribbean, the bluehead wrasse is simply unmissable. The vibrant colors of the ornate wrasse give a tropical touch to the Mediterranean underwater landscape.
Some other wrasse species are known for cleaning larger fish from their parasites, which they feed on. The best known among them is the bluestreak cleaner wrasse, found from the Red Sea to the Marquesas.
Finally, if we had to vote for the most beautiful wrasse species, the juvenile clown coris, with its exquisite white body decorated with two black and orange eyespots, would undoubtedly be among our favorites.
Latent sling-jaw wrasse
Barred thicklip wrasse
Blackeye thicklip wrasse
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse
Bicolor cleaner wrasse
Hawaiian cleaner wrasse
Blue-striped orange tamarin
Green birdmouth wrasse
Eastern blue groper
Cortez rainbow wrasse
Mediterranean rainbow wrasse
East Atlantic peacock wrasse
Mediterranean brown wrasse
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