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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Leopard Wrasse: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe!

One of the fascinating leopard wrasse facts is that it is also called the Blackspotted Wrasse due to the black spots pattern over its body.

The leopard wrasse fish is one of the ten species of the genus Macropharyngodon. They also go by the names of Guinea Fowl Wrasse, Eastern Leopard Wrasse, and Reticulated Wrasse. The scientific name of the fish species is Macropharyngodon Meleagris.  The details on the fish species of leopard wrasse were elaborated in 1839 by Valenciennes. The term Macropharyngodon is Greek for great (makros), pharynx (pharynx), and teeth (odous).  

Leopard wrasses are used abundantly for commercial purposes as well as domestication. Leopard wrasses are never kept together in one tank, but they can be paired with other smaller wrasses. They require a minimum of 50 gallons (189.2 L) of water in a reef tank size that should be at least 1.6 in (4 cm) in length. They need sand, not crushed corals at the bottom of the tank since they tend to hide under the sand.

You may also check out the fact files on foxface rabbitfish and climbing perch from Kidadl.

Leopard Wrasse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a leopard wrasse?

Leopard wrasse is a medium sized wrasse belonging to the species of ray finned fishes.

What class of animal does a leopard wrasse belong to?

Leopard wrasse belongs to the established class of fish.

How many leopard wrasse are there in the world?

It is inaccurate to determine the number of leopard wrasses left in the world. The fish species is not declared Endangered by the IUCN.

Where does a leopard wrasse live?

Leopard wrasse is a non-migratory species of fish. They are usually found in temperate waters having a temperature range of 75.2-82.4 F (24-28 C). Leopard wrasse is a native creature in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. They are found in the areas of Cocos Keeling Island to Marquesas and the Pitcairn Islands, from northern to southern Japan and southern to southeastern Australia.

What is a leopard wrasse's habitat?

Leopard wrasse prefers living in outer lagoons, subtidal coral reef flats, and seaward reefs containing mixed sand, corals, and rubble substrate. The fish can also be spotted in groups in turbulent rapid waters of the reef crest.

Who do leopard wrasse live with?

Leopard wrasses are often found schooling alone or smaller groups of females and one dominant male.

How long does a leopard wrasse live?

The average life of leopard wrasses is six years. However, they can live for about five to eight years of life in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Leopard wrasse uses established oviparous methods of reproducing. Females and males lay eggs and sperms in about 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) into the water column at the surface. The tides carry the fertilized eggs to a safer area in the ocean. Leopard wrasse cannot be bred in a home aquarium reef tank or in any other form of captivity.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, the conservation of status of leopard wrasse is of Least Concern. It means that the species does not have any current, nearing, or foreseeable threat of extinction.

Leopard Wrasse Fun Facts

What do leopard wrasse look like?

The leopard wrasse has a laterally compressed, deep, and elongated body. They have a pointed nose and mouth that help them in foraging for food under live rock and sand. Leopard wrasses have powerful canine teeth that enable them to retrench their prey from under the surface of a rock.

Leopard wrasses are strikingly colorful and bright species of fish.

Their physical appeal has made them a popular item of sale for domestication at a home aquarium or commercial aquarium background. The males and females of the species have strikingly distinguished physical features. Female leopard wrasses have a green, blue, turquoise, or teal pattern of squiggly lines over their bodies. Females also have black spots resembling those of a leopard over their body's background. These spots could be of any shade from mauve to dark brown or black. They also have a yellow patche on their pelvic and anal fins.

Male leopard wrasses have an orange and red mixed base beneath yellow green spots. The spots on a male fish are lined with a darker hue of blue and black.

A juvenile leopard wrasse has a distinct body too. They commonly have a whitish or light green base covered with smaller spots of dark brown or black color.

Leopard wrasse Macropharyngodon can grow up to 6 in (15.2 cm).  

Leopard wrasses have a darker blue or black patch covering the underside of their bodies.

How cute are they?

Leopard wrasses have peculiarly sprightly physical features due to the rainbow of colors on their bodies. Their size and colors make them appealing and cute. The same is why they make an excellent pick for decking a home aquarium reef tank.

How do they communicate?

Leopard wrasses communicate like the other species found in their genus.

How big is a leopard wrasse?

Leopard wrasses grow up to 5-6 in (12.7-15.2 cm) in length in their lifetime. They are almost the same size as the moon wrasse, also known as the Thalassoma Lunare.

How fast can a leopard wrasse swim?

Leopard wrasses can swim at an average speed. They use their pectoral fins to swim and caudal swim when they need to pick up speed.

How much does a leopard wrasse weigh?

They are small sized wrasses that can easily thrive a 100 gallon (378.5 L) tank size of 1.6 in (4 cm) in length.  

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are physical differences between the female and male species, but they do not have different terms to address.  

What would you call a baby leopard wrasse?

There are no dedicated terms for the young ones of leopard wrasses.

What do they eat?

Leopard wrasses are carnivores and their food diet includes small invertebrates like crustaceans, amphipods, copepods, brine shrimp, and snails. Their prey lives under live rock or sand. They use their sharp, canine teeth to feed on their prey and later use their pharyngeal teeth to pulverize and sieve their food.

If they are under captivity at home or a commercial aquarium, their diet should contain live foods supplies like black worms, feeder shrimp or frozen mysis shrimp, good quality flake food, seaweed (also known as nori), and vitamin enriched foods if they are fading in color.

Are they dangerous?

Leopard wrasses are not potentially threatening or intimidating to humans. They feed on smaller creatures for food. Leopard wrasses are domesticated by humans for recreational and commercial purposes.

Would they make a good pet?

Leopard wrasses make an excellent pet. But expert help is required to raise the marine fish since feeding them and keeping them is difficult. It is not advised that inexperienced aquarists for feeding and handling leopard wrasses. Ensure that your fish is in a sound and healthy condition when you buy it. Gain an in depth understanding of these difficult to keep marine fish care, tank size, and aquarium if you want your leopard wrasse Macropharyngodon to live up to five years. It is essential to gain thorough knowledge about the water quantities and correct parameters required for leopard wrasses. A minimum quantity of 50 gallons (189.2 L) is needed in a reef tank for a mature leopard wrasse along with other aquarium supplies.

Did you know...

Leopard wrasses can be housed with marine clownfishes, tangs, butterflyfishes, angelfishes, and smaller wrasses in a home aquarium tank since it will not feed on them and consider their foods.

Leopard wrasses must always be housed with peaceful and calm fishes. Fishes that have semi aggressive temperaments tend to harass leopard wrasses.

Leopard wrasses have difficulties in adapting to a captive environment. It is always recommended to seek expert help and research thoroughly if you want to raise them.

Are wrasse aggressive?

Leopard wrasses have mild hunting instincts. They have a peaceful temperament. But they could be difficult to keep if you are not knowledgeable.

Do leopard wrasse need sand?

Leopard wrasses require a sand bed. They tend to hide under the sand bed if they are not feeling comfortable coming up in the reef safe tank. It is advisable that they should not be dug up from the sand if they are hiding. The reason for the same is that they tend to get easily stressed. Hence, digging them up could cause an enormous amount of stress on the fish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these lined seahorse facts and oilfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Sutchi Catfish coloring pages.

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