Scuba Diving with Napoleon Wrasse in Egypt

A curious Napoleon Wrasse observed off the coast of Egypt

During our recent dive trip to the Red Sea, we encounter a few curious Napoleon Wrasse’s. The accompanied video shows how close they came to my lens and also other divers. I shot these underwater video clips with a Gopro Hero 6 Black and edited in Final Cut Pro X.

Our liveaboard for the week, the Red Sea Aggressor I, departed from Port Ghalib in Marsa Alam, Egypt. We observed most of the Wrasse’s off the southern coast of Egypt as far as St. John’s reef.

Here are a few fun facts about the Napoleon Wrasse:

  • The Napoleon Wrasse is also known as Humphead Wrasse, Maori Wrasse, and Napoleon Fish in some regions.
  • The Napoleon Wrasse is on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) “Red List of Threatened Species,” and is listed for protection on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • They are normally found near the east coast of Africa throughout the Red Sea, Indian Oceana and Pacific Ocean as far south as New Caledonia.
  • They are among the largest of the reef fishes and can grow more than 6 feet. The males are larger than the females. They can weigh up to 400 lbs.
  • The Napoleon Wrasse is most recognized by a large hump on its head right above its eyes. This hump becomes more prominent with age.
  • The Napoleon Wrasse is very important for the health of the coral reef.
  • The majority of their diet is comprised of other reef fish, mollusks, sea urchins, and invertebrates.
  • The Napoleon Wrasse can also eat otherwise poisonous species like starfish and boxfish without being affected by their toxins. They feed on the crown-of-thorn starfish which are coral reef predators.
  • The Napoleon Wrasse has a long life span, but has a very slow breeding rate. Individuals become sexually mature at 4 to 6 years, and females are known to live for around 50 years, whereas males live a slightly shorter 45 years.
  • The Wrasse is a protogynous hermaphrodite which means that the fish changes from being female to males at some point in time.
  • Juveniles are usually found in shallow and sandy ranges that border coral reef, while adults are mostly found in offshore and deeper areas of the coral reefs, typically in outer-reef slopes and channels, but can also be found in lagoons.

In the next few weeks, I will assemble a full video essay which will highlight all of the marine life I encountered during the week of scuba diving off the southern coast of Egypt.

Scuba Diving Egypt | Underwater Video Playlist

8 thoughts on “Scuba Diving with Napoleon Wrasse in Egypt

  1. Gorgeous! On approach he reminded me of a huge sunfish I encountered swimming from La Jolla Cove to Scripps Pier about 30 years ago. I was wearing swimming googles and saw this huge head approaching beneath me and at first thought it was a Great White. It was just a peaceful, huge, beautiful sunfish.

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