This fish was seen in a shallow reef area at the Money Bar in Cozumel. Pics aren't great, but I am hoping to move it from my "unknown" file. Thx for everyone's input.
It's hard to tell from the photos, but the coloration is correct. More importantly, there appear to be squiggly lines running from the eyes towards the top of the back in the first photo. However, the photo is a bit dark to say for certain. Nonetheless, the habitat is right. If you remember whether it had those squiggly lines, that's a unique ID feature for yellowhead wrasses.
Hope this helps.
Hey Allison....that was my thought as well, but the juveniles that I have seen were more yellow than orange. This one seems to be two-toned...mainly orange with a darker head. have you seen this version? I will look at the original(s) for the squiggly lines, as that would be the clincher. Do you think anything else is a possibility? Thx for this again.
Yellowheads seem to have a wide variety of colors when they are in transitional stages. I have seen the color you're describing, but only the squiggly lines coming from the eye can serve as a positive identification for transitional stages. That said, while I'm sure there are other fish that can have the same coloration you're describing, I can't think of any at the moment.
You were "spot on" with the ID....I checked the original and zoomed in - there were definite lines behind the eye, so a Yellowhead Wrasse it is. Thanks again Allison.
REEF Headquarters | P.O. Box 246 | 98300 Overseas Hwy | Key Largo, FL 33037 | USA Phone: 305-852-0030 | Fax: 305-852-0301 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org