Halichoeres cyanocephalus (Bloch, 1791)
Yellowcheek wrasse
Halichoeres cyanocephalus
photo by Schüür, G.

Family:  Labridae (Wrasses), subfamily: Corinae
Max. size:  30 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  reef-associated; depth range 18 - 91 m
Distribution:  Western Atlantic: Florida, USA and Antilles to Brazil.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 9-9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 12-12; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 12-12. Juveniles and females yellow with broad blue stripe from eye to center of caudal fin. The only Halichoeres species in Caribbean region with 12 dorsal rays, all other have 11 (Ref. 26938). Adults with a broad black stripe on upper half of body; narrowing as it passes posteriorly to end in middle of caudal fin; lower half of body light blue-green; head below level of mouth blue-green, above yellow (Ref. 13442).
Biology:  Found over hard substrates (Ref. 9626). Juveniles up to 8 cm act as specialized cleaners. Each individual tends a defined cleaning station sought by several species of reef fishes including damselfishes, goatfishes, and surgeonfishes. At the cleaning station this wrasse swims in a characteristic seesaw motion (Ref. 31373). Occasionally caught by anglers. Generally of no interest to fisheries because of its small average size (Ref. 5217). Found at 9 m in Belize (Ref. 26938).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 06 November 2008 Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

Entered by: Froese, Rainer - 01.05.91
Modified by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 05.10.05
Checked by: Torres, Armi G. - 25.08.94

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