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Bluehead Wrasse Video Stock Footage

Young/small females and males have yellow upper bodies and white lower bodies, often with green or black lateral stripes and occasionally dark vertical bars. This coloration is known as the initial phase. They can rapidly alter the presence or intensity of their yellow color, stripes, and bars, and these color changes appear to correspond to behavioral changes. Large females and some males can permanently change coloration and/or sex and enter the terminal phase coloration, which has a blue head, black and white bars behind the head, and a green body. This color phase gives the species its name. Terminal phase males are larger (70 to 80 mm) than the initial phase males (60 mm). A significant parasite of bluehead wrasses is the intracellular myxozoan Kudoa ovivora, which can be found in the ovaries of female bluehead wrasses. Infected eggs are sterile and are also larger than uninfected eggs, and contain more organic and inorganic material. This implies the parasite causes a shift in resources from the mother to the eggs and decreases the fitness of the mother. Infected bluehead wrasses have been found to change sex earlier than uninfected females, possibly in response to the parasite.

Learn more about Bluehead Wrasse

Animalia: Chordata: Perciformes: Actinopterygii: Labridae: Thalassoma bifasciatum

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