Halichoeres Fish Color Patterns

Halichoeres bivittatus, commonly known as Slippery Dick, is a type of fish called wrasse. There are many different types of wrasses across the globe but this species in particular is commonly found in tropical waters. This species, like most species of fish, change its sex as it grows. Unlike other Halichoeres, this species does not have direct correlation with its sex as it grows. Meaning you cant just look at this fish and based on its color pattern and/or size, and be able to tell the sex of the fish. Another interesting fact about this fish is that they nest and are extremely territorial to other wrasses about their nest. My objective of my research is to be able to determine the different color patterns of H.bivittatus, note
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bivittatus to be very cautious at first. They would run to little hiding holes and some of the larger ones had nests to protect. I noticed which crevices were nests by marking rocks with a knife and taking notes of markings on fish such as scars and coloration. After awhile of being underwater they began to become more curious of me and came out of hiding. After 30 minutes on my first dive observing them, they didn’t seem to mind my presence at all, some of the larger males would even swim up to my mask and start flaring their fins trying to intimidate me. After about 50 min on my first dive i started to flip over rocks to expose small crustaceans and stirring up the sediment on the bottom. After flipping the rocks i was surrounded by H.bivittatus, they were no longer fighting each other or me they were just focusing on the food, however they still would not let any other species, such as mangrove snapper, come in close to fee. I did this every dive in much the same manner, such as mangrove snapper, come in close to feed. I did this every dive in much the same manner, after about 45 minutes or so i would start turning these rocks up trying to get a good vies of their feeding and also to know how territorial they are towards each other and other species of fish. It seemed on my fourth dive and fifth dive, they were immediately used to my presence and started encircling me just wanting to fed on the easy meals of small stone crabs and blue …show more content…
bivittatus responded mostly as expected from the information I found in my research. They had nests, which they hid in when approached. I did not notice any courtship rituals or any small babies, so i was unable to observe mating or parental habitats. However, I noticed the 3 different color patterns among the populations and the colors seemed to be correlated with size. Before my research I found I learned females are typically smaller but females have been found in all sizes and in all colors. Sexing this fish seems to be impossible without catching and checking each one by hand. On a separate note, the coloration does seem to be correlated with the size. These fish can grow up to 35cm or approx. 14 in. In the young adult form, or juvenile stage, the fish is more whitish but has a black spot in the top of the pectoral fin. This stage the dish is not able to reproduce. In every stage if the fishes life, there is also two black lines running down the side of the fish but in the small form to the bottom line is very faint. In the middle form, fish are typically female but it is hard to say for sure. This coloration is still whitish but has a pink tint to it. On the lines running down the sides of the fish there is a green and yellow coloration surrounding the lines. The coloration moves from green around the head to yellow around the tail, the bottom line is not completely visible. In the final stage, the coloration is mostly dark green and yellow with the two

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