Learning to identify the 150 fish species we monitor on the reefs is quite a challenge, and as part of their training volunteers each have to prepare a fish presentation for the group on one of the many families.

A tail of 17 wrasses (in the order they appear in Collins)

According to Collins wrasses are diverse in size and form
So unfortunately there is no wrasse norm
First up is the lyre-tailed hog
Half of it’s white, so think of it as if caught in a very small fog
The only other hog is known as the axil-spot
This is because three black spots it has got
Next up is the hump head wrasse
Rumour has it the hump was caused by a nasty incident with a bass
The reason I failed a test is a wrasse called sling-jaw
It looks nothing like what was in Collins and it might as well have had a paw!
The yellow-tail and white spotted wrasses you could easily confuse
Remember that the yellowtail has spots in blue hues

Then there’s a wrasse that is called the yellow breast
Purely between you and me itís not in the computer test
I realised I’d left the triple tail wrasse out at the very last minute
So this poem has nothing about it in it.

The checkerboard wrasse is easy and it lives up to its name
You could lay it on a table, and have a little game
The zigzag wrasse has a black wavy line in the middle
It looks like it was finished then someone had another fiddle
The barred thick lip wrasse is a bit of a weird catch
It’s coloured head and black-and-white body don’t match
Wrasses called Indian Ocean bird look a bit like mice
If you show one to Max, deep down he might say they look ëniiiceí
Easy to know is the gold bar wrasse
Just look at the base of its head and think lots of cash
The crescent wrasse has a colourful head but most of it’s green
I got it confused with a parrot but realised it looks a lot less mean
The six bar wrasse has six black bars
Another distinguishing feature is its red striped head
The cleaner wrasses look similar but you can be quite mellow
Just by remembering that the bicoloured one’s tail is yellow
The blue streak cleaner you’ll be pleased to know is the seventeenth wrasse
Good luck to everybody, I hope you’ll pass
Just one more bit of wrasse-related knowledge
Wrasses in the rear-view mirror may appear smaller than in Collins

Elina HolttoÖ, Finnish volunteer
Six Bar Wrasse

Posted by Blue Ventures

Blue Ventures is an award winning marine conservation charity. We rebuild tropical fisheries with coastal communities. On our Beyond Conservation blog you can hear voices from the front line of marine conservation written by our staff and volunteers.

One Comment

  1. Cassidy White, Canadian volunteer Dec 7, 2006 at 7:42 am

    Written by a true poet!! It’s too bad this poem still didn’t help me pass the fish test!


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