Dee Wescott

Thalassoma quinquevittatus x Thalassoma duperrey
Family Labridae
     Hybrids sometimes result when an uncommon species cannot find a mate of its own kind and so spawns with a more abundant fish of the same genus. This seems to be the case here: the Fivestripe Wrasse is infrequently seen in Hawaii while the Saddle Wrasse is very common. Wrasse hybrids of the genus Thalassoma tend to be quite variable in appearance, perhaps because of back-crossing. This fish, photographed by Dee Wescott off the Kona coast of the Big Island, is particularly attractive and clearly a cross between the two species. The facial spots are from the Fivestripe Wrasse, while the body markings are those of the Saddle Wrasse. Other photos of these hybrids can be found in my book The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes but the hybrid characteristics are not nearly as obvious as in this picture. Thanks, Dee!

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Text and photos copyright by John P. Hoover