April 4, 2016
Spring is not just in the air but also in the water at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium.
The aquarium’s resident male cuckoo wrasse – widely regarded as the most colourful fish in UK waters – is putting on a stunning spring courtship display for the six females which share his tank.
The male has a brilliant blue head with blue and orange markings down his flanks while the females are a coral pink colour with a row of black and white spots along their backs.
When courtship starts, the already colourful male becomes even brighter in order to attract as many females as possible.
“People are often surprised to discover such a brightly coloured fish is actually native to British waters,” said Blue Reef’s Steve Matchett.
“The male cuckoo wrasse is definitely more than a match for even the most stunning tropical fish species and his technicoloured display definitely appears to be impressing the females.
“Despite the huge difference in colour between the sexes, all wrasse are actually born female. However some females will transform in to males when they reach maturity depending on the proportion of the sexes in a population,” he added.
The beautifully-marked fish is one of seven members of the 300-strong wrasse family to be found in UK waters.
Naturally inquisitive and highly territorial, male cuckoo wrasse will often confront scuba divers and have even been known to nip their fins to warn them off.
The name cuckoo wrasse reputedly originated from Cornish fishermen who thought the fish’s blue markings resembled bluebell flowers. In the Cornish language, a bluebell is ‘bleujenn an gog’ which literally translates as ‘cuckoo flower’.
Wrasse are relatively slow growing fish and can live for 20 years or more.
Issued by the Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information please contact Steve Matchett on 01637 878134.