Home Marine BiologyFish Napoleon Fish: Unique King in Underwater World

Napoleon Fish: Unique King in Underwater World

by Tijana

Did you know that the fish with the thickest and most fleshy lips is the Napoleon Fish? But this is not only its peculiarity, let us discover them all together …

Napoleon Fish

The Napoleon fish is unique, waiting to be discovered. It belongs to the Labridae family and is recognized by the “hump “- an irregular frontal prominence on the head that develops with age and which resembles the hat Napoleon used to wear, which is why it is called the  Napoleon Fish.

Within the Labridae family, it is the largest fish: it can measure up to 230 cm up to 200 kg in weight. But despite its size, it is a quiet but curious fish, which easily comes close to man. It is solitary; it lives hidden among the rocks during the day and falls asleep among the corals at night.

This fish has colors ranging from green to blue and is coated with scales of different shades that make it one of the most beautiful and characteristic fish of the coral reef. It feeds on fish and mollusks which it captures thanks to its large plump lips.

Napoleon fish can change sex 

Yep … besides the labia majora, the Napoleon fish has another bizarre characteristic Anabaena… we consider it a hermaphrodite animal like some other fishes that change sex spontaneously, such as parrotfish and grouper.

The Napoleon fish is a sequential hermaphrodite, it spends a part of its life as a female and ends it as a male or, conversely, changes sex over the years.


 The Napoleon fish is widespread in the warm and tropical waters of the Red Sea and those of the Pacific Ocean. It is possible to spot it near the coral reef, at a depth of only 70 m. 


Its diet is mainly characterized by small fish, crustaceans, small invertebrates, and mollusks. One of the many curiosities of the Napoleon fish is that it can also feed on poisonous species such as boxfish, and starfish which sucks a large with its thick lips.

Fishing is illegal!

In the past, the fishing of this specimen was excessive: it was highly sought after because its flesh and its lips are unbelievably delicious dishes. The capture of the Napoleon fish took place both with normal fishing techniques and with the use of huge nets that often-caused considerable damage to the coral reef. Today, fishing for Napoleon wrasse is illegal: it is considered an endangered animal and is found in protected areas of the coral reef.

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