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Napoleon Fish

Napoleon Fish
Scientific Name

Cheilinus undulatus

Other Common Name(s)
Napoleon Wrasse, Humphead Wrasse, Maori Wrasse
Body Length

Up to 2.3 m

Body Weight

Up to 190 kg

On coral reefs and in shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific and central Pacific Ocean.
Fun Facts

Fun Facts

  • Napoleon fish get their name from the distinctive hump on their forehead, which resembles the hat of the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

  • Most Napoleon fish are born as females. They form harems and take about 5 to 7 years to reach sexual maturity. There is one dominant male responsible for fertilising the harem in its territory. If a dominant male does not exist, a female with a larger body size will change her sex and take up the role of a dominant male.

Threats & Conservation

IUCN Red List: Endangered
IUCN Red List: Endangered
CITES: Appendix II
CITES: Appendix II

Commercial fisheries have been driving the Napoleon fish towards extinction. Both adults and juveniles are targeted by the live reef food fish trade and are caught intensively. Exploitation is particularly heavy in Southeast Asia. Due to their late sexual maturity and sex-changing nature, Napoleon fish are very vulnerable to overfishing. Although prohibited in many countries, cyanide is still used to catch Napoleon fish and is the main cause for the death of corals and the destruction of the habitat of these fish. The fish’s population has been reduced by more than 50% over about 3 decades.

Do not consume Napoleon fish!

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