A wrasse (?) or perhaps Bluelip Parrotfish (?) from Roatan, Honduras

Images: 
Wrasse.JPG
Wrasse sp.-2.JPG
Beaugregory, ad. and juv.JPG

I photographed this little purple and yellow fish (3-4 inches = ca. 10 cm long) off the north coast of Roatan, Honduras last year. I was taking picture of something else, and this fish just got in front of the camera (hence a bit out of focus, the tail not in frame, etc.). I went through Reef Fish guide, several other guides, and some Internet sites with a comb, and yet I cannot place it.

It is mostly likely a species of wrasse or something closely related (Labridae) that I have never seen. The only other thing I can think of is Bluelip Parrotfish (Cryptotomus roseus), but I have never seen that one either. The interesting thing is that this fish possibly mimics a juvenile Spanish Hogfish.

Any suggestions?

Thank you,

Michael

I added another photo of the same species (and perhaps indeed of the same individual) that appeared on the background in another photo taken at same reef on the same date. It is out of focus, but the fish’s shape is clearly seen.

It has been suggested that this might be a juvenile Beaugregory. However, all damselfishes (including Beaugregory) are oval, with forked caudal fins, and their dorsal fins are continuous, rounded at the end, and extend to the base of tail. I added a picture of Beaugregory, although it is not a very good one.

In the fish in question the dorsal fin is also continuous, but it is narrow, not rounded, and it terminates well before the base of tail.

I found a picture of a similarly looking fish in DeLoach’s “Reef Fish Behaviour”, page 297. The picture suggests that it may be a female/initial phase of the Greenblotch Parrotfish (Sparisoma atomarium), although I would not rule out some intermediate phase of the Yellowhead Wrasse.

I'm thinking something else

The angle of the pic makes it a little hard to tell the body shape. But I'm thinking is a juvenile Beaugregory in the damselfish family. See the very bright blue dots towards the tail. Also this guy may be well on his way to adulthood and his dorsal spot may have faded entirely.

Not Beaugregory

Hi,

All damselfishes (including Beaugregory) are oval, with forked caudal fins, and their dorsal fins are continuous, rounded at the end, and extend to the base of tail. I added a picture of Beaugregory, although it is not a very good one.

In the fish in question the dorsal fin is also continuous, but it is narrow, not rounded, and it terminates well before the base of tail. The fish is cigar-shaped.

I found a picture of a similarly looking fish in DeLoach’s “Reef Fish Behaviour”, page 297. The picture suggests that it may be a female/initial phase of the Greenblotch Parrotfish (Sparisoma atomarium), although I would not rule out some intermediate phase of the Yellowhead Wrasse.

2nd picture

You are right the shape in the second picture has nothing to do with damselfish. It seems to have a definite Wrasse shape. In which case I tend to lean towards your guess of a an intermediate phase of a Yellowhead.

Yellowhead Wrasse

I would say it's definitely a Yellowhead Wrasse Halichoeres garnoti. We see similar colored (Purple fore-body, yellow everywhere else.) individuals here in the Bahamas. The two small lines behind the eye seem to be the most reliable way to distinguish intermediate Yellowhead from other Wrasse.

Here is Fishbase's page on the the Yellowhead Wrasse: Yellowhead Wrasse

Yellowhead Wrasse

You are probably right. Although, in most Yellowhead Wrasse that saw the dorsal fin extended as far as the base of caudal fin. This does not seem to be the case with the fish in question. Although, I suppose, there are variations.

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