Fun Slingjaw Wrasse Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Here are some good slingjaw wrasse facts

If you want to learn about a special type of wrasse, then give this article a read.

The sling-jaw wrasse is a type of fish that belongs to the family Labridae and the genus Epibulus. This fish either has a yellow or brown body and its length generally extends somewhere between 14-21.6 in (35.5-55 cm).

You may find them hiding behind a coral branch near a reef since they tend to live near coral reefs, lagoons as well as on reef slopes.

In terms of the description of their eponymous large jaws, which extend to more than half of their body side and help their feeding habits. A juvenile and an adult both are able to very quickly feed on small live crustaceans such as shrimps and other prey that are rich in nutrients.

They don't generally go on to swim to very low depths and can be seen on the surface of a coral reef, especially in tropical areas within the Indo Pacific region.

If you have kept a sling-jaw wrasse juvenile in an aquarium, they will prefer to feed on live species than frozen food.

If one is feeding them frozen food in a tank, nutrients should be placed inside the length of the prey's body so they can obtain all the rich nutrition they need. You can sometimes feed them directly, by placing the food in their unique mouth!

If you would like to know more about the juvenile sling-jaw wrasse or the cichlid mouth sling-jaw wrasse, you should check out the rest of this article!

If you would like to check out similar articles on Kidadl, check out giant oarfish facts and rockfish facts.

Slingjaw Wrasse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a slingjaw wrasse?

The sling-jaw wrasse (Epibulus insidiator), is a wrasse fish that belongs to the Labridae family and falls under the Epibulus genus. It is most famously known for its highly extendable jaw, which allows it to feed on various marine life.

What class of animal does a slingjaw wrasse belong to?

It is a type of fish that falls into the Actinoptergygii class. It is often found floating freely in the sea around coral reefs, and can also be seen on display in public aquariums.

How many Slingjaw wrasses are there in the world?

The exact number of sling-jaw wrasses cannot be currently ascertained. The IUCN red list doesn't have this species listed on its website. They are in various areas in the Indo Pacific such as Southern Japan to Australia.

Where does a slingjaw wrasse live?

The slingjaw wrasse is found in different places such as the Red Sea, the Hawaiian islands, off the coasts of South Africa, the Meditteranean, Japan, and Australia.

What is a slingjaw wrasse's habitat?

When it comes to their distribution in the sea habitats, they are mostly found near a coral reef, in lagoons, and on reef slopes. It is also found in areas that are known to be surge zones. The range that they stay in is between 3-130 ft (1-40m).

Who do slingjaw wrasses live with?

The sling-jaw wrasse (Epibulus insidiator) is by nature a solitary creature that prefers to stay by itself, both in the ocean and in the tank. They tend to be very asocial and prefer to hide in the dark behind coral branches and in small crevices than be out in the wild.

When they engage in drift emigration, the juveniles move in groups with different fishes.

How long does a slingjaw wrasse live?

The exact lifespan of a slingjaw wrasse is not known. However, most wrasse fishes that are found in the Indo-Pacific region have a lifespan between 3-30 years, most commonly extending from 3 to 5 years of age.

How do they reproduce?

The slingjaw wrasse fish is known to reproduce sexually. Not much is known about their practices and the length of their reproduction period.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN red list has listed the conservation status of the sling-jaw wrasse (Epibulus insidiator) as of Least Concern.

Slingjaw Wrasse Fun Facts

What do slingjaw wrasses look like?

The jaw of a slingjaw wrasse is half of their size.

The male sling-jaw wrasse is generally a mixture of brown and grey and has orange lines on its back. Their head is pale grey and they have a black line running through it.

Females have a body that is either dark brown or yellow and juveniles and generally a lighter shade of brown. It is a protogynous hermaphrodite, which means some of them have body characteristics of both sexes.

Their jaws are protrusible and rapidly extend up to half of their body length when they're feeding. They even fit in tiny crevices.

How cute are they?

The slingjaw wrasse can be pretty cute, and its unusual behavior makes it even more endearing and interesting. They come in a variety of colors, mainly yellow and brown. Adults or juveniles are commonly seen in public aquariums and can be kept as pets.

How do they communicate?

Their main method of communication is through visual recognition and communication. They are also able to send signals through tactile methods, non-verbal gestures, and chemical methods. This helps them view other fishes and crustaceans, especially in the dark depths of the ocean.

How big is a sling-jaw wrasse?

The sling-jaw wrasse is most commonly found to be around 14 in  (35.5 cm). However, there have been rare circumstances where adults have been spotted that are around 21.6 in (55 cm) as well! In comparison to the humphead wrasse, they are slightly smaller.

How fast can a slingjaw wrasse swim?

The exact speed of this fish cannot be verified. However, they are known to have the quickest jaw in the west Pacific! The rate at which they can catch their prey with their extendable jaw is a marvelous spectacle.

How much does a slingjaw wrasse weigh?

The average weight of the slingjaw wrasse fish is assumed to be around 2.03 lb (921 g). These are small fish that can be found on various coral reefs across the Indo Pacific region.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific terms that are used to differentiate between males and females in this species. They are known to show pretty intense sexual dichromatism, and the species also is known to be a protogynous hermaphrodite. Therefore, it is possible to spot small fish that have both sex characteristics, sometimes even in the same fish family.

What would you call a baby sling-jaw wrasse?

There are no specific terms that are used in the description of a baby sling-jaw wrasse, whether it is a male or a female.

What do they eat?

These fish love to eat both frozen and fresh seafood, including crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp, and squid, and clams. They mostly prefer live food like live fish, shrimps,  earthworms, blackworms, and feeder goldfish.

They often end up taking food that is floating around for other slower predators or small fish. Males and females have a tendency to catch live prey with their jaws that are floating in the tank and even in the ocean.

Are they dangerous?

They are not a social species, which is why this species prefers to be alone. If one is considering getting a slingjaw wrasse for their aquarium, it should be kept in mind that it is better to keep only one.

They're not too dangerous towards other fish or animals, but they can tend to get aggressive towards some species and often chase after them. In most cases, the only time they're dangerous is when they're hunting for prey, but males and females don't have the potential to hurt humans.

Would they make a good pet?

These fish can easily be kept in an aquarium. However, certain points should be kept in mind when adopting an Epibulus insidiator.

They are quick creatures when it comes to food, therefore, they tend to hog up the food that belongs to other wild fishes. They are also very shy creatures and may tend to hide behind crevices and structures when you first introduce them to an aquarium environment but they adapt very quickly.

Juveniles may even become friends when they've become comfortable. They also look really good on display.

Did you know...

If they don't get enough social interaction, yellow females may often turn brown or even dark brown.

Are slingjaw wrasses endangered?

The IUCN red list has not listed the sling-jaw wrasse in their directory, therefore, we cannot confirm whether these small fish are endangered or not. However, other wrasse species such as the latent slingjaw wrasse are listed under the Least Concern category.

These fish hide inside of small crevices and corals in the sea from other fishes and have specially adapted gills, fins, and bladders, that have distinct survival mechanisms that help them live. They are also ectothermic.

How did the slingjaw wrasses get their name?

The slingjaw wrasse attained its name from a unique highly extendable mouth and jaw. They can extend their jaws into a tube-like formation that is more than half of the size of their head.

This causes their length to look much larger than it actually is. This allows them to quickly capture their prey, such as crustaceans like crabs and other 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 bullethead parrotfish facts and olive flounder facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable sling-jaw wrasse coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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