Peaceful and reef safe, this week’s Fish of the Week, the Carpenter’s wrasse (Paracheilinus carpenteri), is native to the western Pacific and only grows to around 8cm (3 inches). Colours and patterns will vary somewhat between individuals, but this species tends to have a characteristic vivid red-pink-yellow colour. Juveniles have blue bars running across the body, but these fade with age making them easy to identify compared to adults. Males and females are also relatively easy to tell apart from one another, with males having long, colourful fins whilst females have much shorter fins and are generally smaller in size. This small species is also known as Carpenter’s flasher wrasse due to the unusual mating behaviour of this genus: when in the presence of females close to spawning, males will rush out from a cave or crevice, flaring and stretching their fins, and then dart back again, in the hopes of attracting the attention of a female. Males will also intensify in colour during this period, making for an amazing display if you are fortunate enough to witness it. Males can be quite aggressive if not kept singularly, but a male will happily form a harem with multiple females, and will successfully breed in the aquarium if you’re looking for a bold, bright, breeding project.
Image courtesy of wikipedia.