BIRD WRASSE / SADDLE
Gomphosus varius x Thalassoma duperrey
Hybrids between the Bird Wrasse and several
wrasses of the genus Thalassoma have been known for years, though
they are certainly not common. Chris Hancock took this rare photo of a
probable initial phase Bird Wrasse / Saddle Wrasse hybrid feeding alongside
normal Saddle Wrasses at the "First Cathedral" dive site off
Lanai, depth about 65 ft. Note the Bird Wrasse's color: mostly blue-green
with vertical reddish marks on each scale, similar to the Saddle Wrasses
behind it. Normal IP Bird Wrasses are whitish and black, not blue green.
While it's true that terminal phase (supermale) Bird Wrasses are blue
and green, and that therefore this photo might represent an initial phase
Bird Wrasse transforming to the terminal phase, the orange snout and lack
of sharp demarcation of light and dark on the body argue against this.
Below is a photo of what appears to be a supermale Bird Wrasse / Saddle
Wrasse hybrid that I tookwhile snorkeling at Waiopae Tidepools on the
Big Island. (also called Kapoho Tidepools).
Normally, fishes belonging to different genera
(Gomphosus and Thalassoma) would not be expected to hybridize,
but Gomphosus is so similar to Thalassoma in everything
but the long snout that some ichthyologists feel it should be included