| Ecological Descriptors
||Ech, Cru, Mol
Terminal phase (TP): Body blue to green, with a yellowish margin on the tail, a dark dot at the base of the pectoral fin and sometimes with a white midbody bar. Head with greenish blue scrawls.
Initial phase (IP): Yellowish green to bluish green with areas of yellow gold. Upper back with 5 white bars or dots and one or two black rectangular areas between the last bars.
Juvenile phase: Body with 2 yellow to gold horizontal stripes with a white stripe in between. Upper back with five white bars or dots and a navy to blue spot on the mid-back and dorsal fin.
Constantly swim over the reefs, down to 55m (180ft). Juveniles and subadults in shallower (1 to 5m/ 3 to 15ft) coral reefs. Feed on molluscs, sea urchins, crustaceans, and brittle stars. The Puddingwife is active during the day time, however they retreat before any other fishes and rise last. Rather shy as adults.
Semi-aggressive; often observed feeding in association with the Bar Jack (Caranx ruber). The two actively pursue each other , thus maintaining heterospecific foraging “teams”. This social behaviour of "nuclear hunting" proves beneficial to the puddingwife wrasses as their bite and search rates are higher when teamed up with a C. ruber. Otherwise, puddingwife wrasses move about singly, however terminal phase fish can be seen moving actively around a loose-knit group of about six initial phase fish. This can be viewed as an illustration of premating/ harem behaviour.
Protogynous hermaphrodites, with some Initial Phase (IP) females, turning into Terminal Phase (TP) males once they reach a certain size. Those individuals who remain female , retain the markings of IP. Juveniles often have the same colouration as IP females. TP males are harem breeders.
(C) Mark Rosenstein