Wrasses or Novaculichthys
taeniourus are members of the family Labridae. This is a large and
family comprised of over 500 species in 60 genera. The name wrasse is
from the Welsh word, gwrach,
which means old woman or hag. Dragons have
rather extensive habitat. Populations exist in the Red Sea as well as
Indian and Pacific
throughout all of Micronesia
along the entire east coast of Africa to Lord Howe Island
south of Australia.
can also be found from the Hawaiian Islands to the eastern
the Gulf of California down to Panama.
are a medium to large
fish depending upon what species you keep as an aquarist. They can grow
maximum adult length of 12 inches. Adults and juveniles not only look
distinctly separate species, they look as if they originate from
planets. Adults have the elongated profile typical of a wrasse. Their
light grey with burgundy markings around their eyes. They have burgundy
with a grey spotting pattern. Their dorsal and anal fins are quite long
also display spotting. Fins are a combination of reddish brown,
burgundy and a
grayish green. The bases of their caudal fins are white with a brown
fan-like appearance at the end.
are extremely exotic
creatures. They exhibit features more typical of a species of lion fish
that of a wrasse. Their heads are crowned with two long dorsal spines
the appearance of alien antennae or a pair of old rabbit ears from the
era of television. Their fins consist of either individual
spines held together by a joining membrane. The assortment of spinal
from their bodies contributes to their resemblance of a volitan.
vary from peach, to burgundy, light blue or grey and can even be a
green. Regardless of primary coloration, they all have white zigzagged
on their bodies outlined in black. Juveniles will often remain
drifting back and forth in the current mimicking a piece of detached
When an unsuspecting passerby moves in for a quick nibble, they swallow
are sold under a variety
of trade names by the aquarium industry, including; masked, Indian, or
wrasse. Juveniles are frequently sold as reindeer wrasse because the
dorsal spines on their heads resemble the antlers of a deer.
known as Obi-tensumodoki.
are hardy fish with
aggressive temperaments. They should only be housed with larger,
aggressive species. They are extremely territorial toward conspecifics
should only be kept as a solitary specimen. These are not
fish. In nature the adults are continually over turning rocks in the
revealing mussels, snails, urchins, starfish, and crustaceans to
are, in fact, often referred to as “rockmover
wrasse” because of their knack
for interior decorating. In additions to rocks, they will not hesitate
rearranging your coral collection. They can prove quite destructive in
tank. As is a common trait among wrasse, dragons will bury themselves
sand to sleep. You will require 2-4 inches of sand as a substrate if
to raise this species. A minimum tank size of 150 gallons is
fish are jumpers and should only be housed in an aquarium with a
hood for their own protection.
carnivores. This species more often dies from malnutrition than all
factors combines. Their immense appetites earned them a moderate to
care level rating. Their diet can include brine or mysid
shrimp and live
worms in addition to whatever carnivore based food preparation you
use as a staple. They can be fed virtually any freshly chopped seafood
exception of oily fish. Larges specimens can eat feeder shrimp and
species has a very fast metabolism. They will starve to death quickly
Dragons should be fed a minimum of 2-3 times daily.