Napoleon Wrasse: the hermaphrodite with eyes that rotate 360 degrees

Napoleon Wrasse, commonly called the Humphead Wrasse, is an endangered species of coral reef fish. It is also known as the Maori Wrasse, due to the beautiful, intricate patterns on its face and body which resemble the tattoos on the faces of Maori from New Zealand.

Napolean Wrasse

Commonly found in the Indo-Pacific region, Napoleon Wrasses can live up to 30 years, and are the largest amongst all the wrasses in their family. These fishes can grow to 2 metres and weigh 190 kilograms!

They are hermaphrodites

Wrasses are hermaphrodites – meaning that they have both the male and female sex organs in their lifespan. They start off their lives as a female, and depending on the environment that they are in, they may turn into a male. It is pretty easy to differentiate between females and males: males have a prominent bump on their forehead!

Their eyes can rotate 360 degrees

Another interesting fact about Napoleon Wrasses is that they can rotate their eyes 360 degrees! Their eyes are constantly roving, always swivelling around to observe their surroundings.

Napolean Wrasse

Curious, intelligent, friendly

They are highly curious and intelligent animals, and have the ability to identify individual divers from afar. Being inquisitive by nature, Napoleon Wrasses may approach divers up close!

We have one Napoleon Wrasse here at the Coral Garden habitat within S.E.A. Aquarium.

Napolean Wrasse

This beauty is only about 4 to 5 years old. It does not have a bump on its forehead which makes her a female. This is a major distinguishing factor between male and female Napoleon Wrasses.

Napolean Wrasse
Napolean Wrasse swimming alongside my fellow aquarist Frances Li Min.

She often swims up to our aquarists to check out what they are up to. Her favourite food is prawns and crabs. Our aquarists place the food at the end of a feeding stick which she feeds from.

Frances feeding her some horse mackerel. But her favourites are still prawns and crabs.

Here is a video of her doing just that.

Photos and video by Boon Ping, aquarist at S.E.A. Aquarium

Pop by the S.E.A. Aquarium to catch a glimpse of this beautiful fish today!

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