Critter of the Month

Critter of the Month

Critter Facts

Common name: 

Surge Wrasse

Scientific name: 

Thalassomma purpureum

Uncommon in Hawai‘i, surge wrasses are one of the most difficult of the Hawaiian fishes to photograph.  Sometimes surge wrasses will swim alongside a large surgeonfish or parrotfish in order to ambush their prey.

Their range consists of depths up to 90 feet though they tend to stay in shallower waters with stronger waves.
In their initial phase, male and female surge wrasses look very similar, but terminal males (like the one in this photo) are brightly colored.

In Ancient Hawai‘i, the surge wrasse was captured for food at night while they slept in large tide pools. It is said that they snore like human beings, even being referred to as “celebrated snoring fish.”

Contact Us

Department of Biology
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
2450 Campus Road
Dean Hall 105A
Honolulu, HI 96822


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