Juvenile creole wrasses?

PB013056, 72ppi.jpg
PB013056, CU, 72ppi.jpg

When diving yesterday, I saw a large school of what I assumed were juvenile creole wrasse.  When I got home and looked at the photo, I was not so sure.  My wife and I pored over Reef Fish, and we are less sure now.  We have two questions.  One, are they all the same fish?  And, two, are thesee juvenile creole wrasse, black basslets or blue chromis, and how can you tell them apart?

Molasses Reef, buoy M1, Monday, November 1, 2010, maximum depth 32 feet, bottom temperature 85 degrees Fahrenheit (although I think my dive computer's thermometer reads about four degrees high).

Thank You,


Creole Wrasse

Yes, the majority of the fish in your photo are Creole Wrasse, but there are also two bonnetmouth in your photo. They are the long slender fish with the yellowish nose.

Two species of bonnetmouths occur in our area:

The Bonnetmouth, Emmelichthyops atlanticus and the Boga, Inermia vittata. They are very similar, but the Boga has two close-set dorsal fins and the Bonnetmouth has two well-spaced dorsal fins. It's hard to tell from the photo, but I would guess you have found a Boga.

Next time you're out there, watch the Creole Wrasse's swimming method. They propel themselves by continously flapping their pectoral fins. The mixed in Bonnetmouths swim as jacks do - using only their tail.

Blue Chromis also use their pectorals a bit, but are blue rather than purple and have dark borders on their tail.

Blackcap Basslet are also purple, but have a dark head and probably won't be found in the open. Check under ledges and in caves for these guys.


Thank you

I can't thank you enough.  That is an incredibly thorough answer, and it is not wasted on me; the more I learn, the better.  I am deeply grateful.


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