Corkwing Wrasse

This wrasse is commonly found around rock and boulder areas.

It looks like a tropical fish with different patterns and colours of stripes and spots. The characteristic speckling is responsible for this fish’s old English name of sea-partridge. It has a distinctive ‘eye-spot’ at the base of the tail. The eye-spot is used to scare away predators, as it makes the wrasse appear to have a larger, more intimidating head. The ‘eye’ is deliberately at the wrong end (the tail rather than the head) so that if a predator is not scared away it will try to attack the tail (which it thinks is the head) and not the actual head of the fish! Corkwing wrasses feed largely on prawns, crabs and worms as they have powerful teeth which enable them to swallow flesh and shell fragments together. However the wrasses can also use their delicate lips to nip off small pieces of encrusting animals on the seabed. Many of these encrusting animals are colonial and so able to survive this feeding activity.

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Copyright Lundy MCZ 2019