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Humphead Wrasse by artist Bobby Rojas

Cactus Gallery LA

Humphead Wrasse by artist Bobby Rojas

$ 180.00 $ 300.00
Acrylic on wood, 6” x12”

The humphead wrasse is an enormous coral reef fish—growing over six feet long—with a prominent bulge on its forehead. Some of them live to be over 30 years old. They roam through coral reefs in search of hard shelled prey such as mollusks, starfish, or crustaceans.

The fish is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red list and in Appendix II of CITES. Species numbers for the humphead wrasse have been declining due to a number of threats, including intensive and species-specific removal in the live reef food fish trade throughout its core range in Southeast Asia, destructive and illegal fishing techniques for its value as a delicacy and habitat loss and degradation.

Humphead wrasses are protogynous hermaphrodites, a type of hermaphroditism that occurs in many fish, gastropods, and plants. Sequential hermaphroditism occurs when the individual changes sex at some point in its life. It can change from a male to female (protandry), or from female to male (protogyny).

WWF urges local governments in the Coral Triangle to stop the trade and consumption of humphead wrasse—one of the most expensive live reef fishes in the world. Live reef fish trade in Southeast Asia continues to be a significant problem that threatens the region’s food security as well as its reefs, as poachers often resort to legal and destructive fishing methods to catch them.

These fish are very important to coral reef health. They eat crown-of-thorn starfish and therefore keep populations of this damaging coral reef predator in check. The humphead wrasse is highly vulnerable to overfishing because it’s a valued luxury food as a part of the live reef fish trade predominant across Southeast Asia.

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