AskDefine | Define wrasse

The Collaborative Dictionary

Wrasse \Wrasse\, n. [W. gwrachen.] (Zool.) Any one of numerous edible, marine, spiny-finned fishes of the genus Labrus, of which several species are found in the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic coast of Europe. Many of the species are bright-colored. [1913 Webster] Note: Among the European species are the ballan wrasse (Labrus maculatus), the streaked wrasse (Labrus lineatus), the red wrasse (Labrus mixtus), the comber wrasse (Labrus comber), the blue-striped, or cook, wrasse (see Peacock fish, under Peacock), the rainbow wrasse (Labrus vulgaris), and the seawife. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

wrasse n : chiefly tropical marine fishes with fleshy lips and powerful teeth; usually brightly colored

English

Pronunciation

Noun

wrasse
  1. Any one of numerous edible, marine, spiny-finned fishes of the genus Labrus, of which several species are found in the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic coast of Europe. Many of the species are bright-colored.

Translations

For other uses, see Wrasse (disambiguation).
The wrasses are a family, Labridae, of marine fish, many of which are brightly colored. The family is large and diverse, with about 500 species in 60 genera.

Distribution

Wrasses are exclusively marine in distribution. They are found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, usually in shallow water habitats such as coral reefs and rocky shores where they live close to the substrate.

Anatomy

Wrasses have protractile mouths, usually with separate jaw teeth that jut outwards. The dorsal fin has 8–21 spines and 6–21 soft rays, usually running most of the length of the back. Wrasse are typically brightly coloured and sexually dimorphic. Many species are capable of changing sex: juveniles are a mix of males and females (known as Initial Phase or IP individuals) but the largest adults becoming territory-holding (Terminal Phase or TP) males.

Cleaner wrasse

Some wrasses are widely known for their role as symbiotic fish, similar to the actions and those ascribed to the Egyptian plover: other fish will congregate at wrasse cleaning stations and wait for wrasses to swim into their open mouths and gill cavities to have gnathiid parasites removed. The cleaner wrasses are best known for feeding on dead tissue and scales and ectoparasites, although they are also known to 'cheat' through the removal of healthy tissue and mucus, which is costly for the client fish to produce. The bluestreak cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus is one of the most common cleaners found on tropical reefs. Few cleaner wrasses have been observed being eaten by predators, possibly because the removal of parasites from the predator fish is more important for the survival of the predator than the short-term gain of eating the cleaner (see Trivers, R. L. 1971).
Other species of wrasse, rather than having fixed cleaning stations, specialize in making "house calls"—that is, their "clientele" are those fish that are too territorial or shy to go to a cleaning station.

Significance to humans

Wrasse are utilised as food in many parts of the world. In the western Atlantic, the most commonly eaten is the tautog. Wrasse are widely kept in both public and home aquaria, with some species being small enough to be considered reef safe.
wrasse in German: Lippfische
wrasse in Dhivehi: ހިކާ އާއިލާ (މަސް)
wrasse in Spanish: Labridae
wrasse in French: Labridae
wrasse in Italian: Labridae
wrasse in Lithuanian: Lūpažuvinės
wrasse in Dutch: Lipvissen
wrasse in Japanese: ベラ
wrasse in Norwegian: Leppefisker
wrasse in Norwegian Nynorsk: Leppefisk
wrasse in Polish: Wargaczowate
wrasse in Portuguese: Labridae
wrasse in Finnish: Huulikalat
wrasse in Swedish: Läppfiskar
wrasse in Chinese: 隆頭魚科
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