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:
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.