Surge Wrasse, Thalassoma purpureum (Forsskål 1775)


Other Names: Green-blocked Wrasse, Purple Wrasse, Red And Green Wrasse

A terminal phase (male) Surge Wrasse, Thalassoma purpureum, at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

Summary:

A colourful wrasse often seen in the surge zone on reef flats and reef margins.

Females are greenish with a dark red V-shaped marking on the snout. Males are greenish-blue with two reddish stripes along the sides and a large blunt greenish-blue head with pinkish-purple markings.

Very similar to the Ladder Wrasse, Thalassoma trilobatum.


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Thalassoma purpureum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jun 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/288

Surge Wrasse, Thalassoma purpureum (Forsskål 1775)

More Info


Distribution

Rottnest Island to the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia, Cartier Island, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, and reefs in the Coral Sea, to Sydney, New South Wales. Also at Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species is widespread and relatively common in the Indo-Pacific, from East Africa and the Red Sea to the Eastern Pacific. 
Usually inhabits the surge zone on outer reef flats and reef margins on coral and rocky reefs.

Features

Dorsal fin VIII, 12-14; Anal fin II, 10-12.

Feeding

Feeds upon small fishes and invertebrates including crabs, sea urchins, brittle stars, molluscs and polychaete worms.

Biology

A protogynous hermaphrodite, changing sex from female to male during the life cycle. Usually occurs in groups with a dominant male, and several females and juveniles.

Fisheries

Occasionally collected for the aquarium industry.

Similar Species

Very similar to the Ladder Wrasse, Thalassoma trilobatum. Females of both species are almost identical, differing slightly in head length and coloration. The Surge Wrasse has a slightly longer head, with a  V-shaped mark on the snout. Female Ladder Wrasse have spotted head and lack the 'V-shaped' mark. Male Surge Wrasse have a greenish to bluish head with a pinkish mark above the upper lip, and the snout mostly pinkish to purplish. Male  T. trilobatum have a plain brownish to orange or bluish head. 

Etymology

Thalassoma is from the Greek thalassa, meaning 'the sea', and soma meaning 'body' in reference to the body colour being that of the sea

Species Citation

Scarus purpureus Forsskål, 1775, Descriptiones animalium: 27. Type locality: Red Sea.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Surge Wrasse, Thalassoma purpureum (Forsskål 1775)

References


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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37384169

Biology:Hermaphrodite

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-15 m

Habitat:Reef associated, in surge zone

Max Size:46 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map