Saturday, June 16, 2012

Yellowtail Coris

Yellowtail Coris, Kauai Snorkeling
Photo: Yellowtail Coris, Marty Wakat

The Yellowtail Coris is a beautiful fish! Lucky for you it is easy to spot at many locations on Kauai. The electric blue spots and the bright yellow tail are the dead giveaway for identification. The irregular green bands break up the rosy colored face. I love this fish! The Yellowtail Coris is especially common at South Shore Snorkel spots like Lawai Beach and Poipu Beach Park. So, be sure to look for it.

Juvenile Yellowtail Coris, looks like a Clownfish but it's not
Photos: John Coney, UHH MOP

Did you know that there are many different color phases for this fish? Like most wrasses, there are color differences between males, females and juveniles. And there are even some variation in color among adults of the same sex. The juvenile (below right) looks nothing like its parents! In fact, the juvenile is often mistaken for a Clownfish. However, there are no Clownfish in Hawaii. Notice that the body of the juvenile is elongate, unlike the more oval shape of the Clownfish, and there is no anemone associated with this wrasse.

So, the next time you go snorkeling on Kauai, look for the Yellowtail Coris. Take some nice photos and send them in, maybe I will feature them on this site.

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