Wrasses are in the family of Labridae, in the Order of Perciformes. One of their characteristics are to have a jaw of individual or fused teeth – sometimes very visible! The Eastern Blue Groper for example will often come towards you with his mouth open and show you all of his pearly whites!
Wrasses are present across all the seas except the coldest seas. There are some 400 species in this family worldwide, so this website does not showcase them all, but highlights the most common ones that we see on dives in Sydney. It is rare not to come across the charasmatic Eastern Blue Groperor Maori Wrasse. The wrasse seemingly dominate the reefs in Sydney along with the Leatherjackets. Wrasses are typically colourful and pretty and they love the camera – in fact they often cling to your side throughout the dive and the Eastern Blue Gropers almost appear to sulk if you stop paying them attention! Juveniles are typically female during their initial phase but as they mature into their terminal phase they become more colourful and switch from being a female into a male. Males are typically territorial and like to control a group of females. It is said that if the male who is managing a harem of females disappears then the largest female in the group will switch and turn into a male.
Size The family of wrasse come in a range of sizes, from the large Eastern Blue Groper, through to the smaller Snake Skin Wrasse which has been depicted in this illustration.
This scale obviously depends on the age of the fish.