Photo of California Sheephead Wrasse

The California sheephead wrasse, Semicossyphus pulcher, is an interesting fish. It begins its life as a female and remains so until adulthood. When the region’s dominant adult male dies or leaves then switcheroo! one of the remaining adult females will switch genders to assume the role of dominant male of the reef. Note the distinctly different colorations of the juvenile, female and dominant male sheephead wrasses below:

Juvenile sheephead, Farnsworth Banks, Semicossyphus pulcher, Catalina Island

Juvenile sheephead, Farnsworth Banks.
Image ID: 05184
Species: California sheephead wrasse, Semicossyphus pulcher
Location: Catalina Island, California, USA

Juvenile sheephead wrasse, Semicossyphus pulcher

Juvenile sheephead wrasse.
Image ID: 08647
Species: California sheephead wrasse, Semicossyphus pulcher

Sheephead wrasse, adult male coloration (a juvenile or female is partially seen to the right), Semicossyphus pulcher, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

Sheephead wrasse, adult male coloration (a juvenile or female is partially seen to the right).
Image ID: 09624
Species: California sheephead wrasse, Semicossyphus pulcher
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico

Keywords: California sheephead wrasse photo, Semicossyphus pulcher, gender change, underwater photo, Guadalupe Island.