[youtube width=”680″ height=”400″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mywTVAWkMgA[/youtube]
Macropharyngodon kuiteri or Kuiter’s leopard wrasse is a seldom seen labrid which is closely related to the African Macropharyngodon vivienae. Although many of the rare fish we encounter are usually recent imports at wholesale or retail businesses, in this case we got to see an excellent medium sized Kuiter’s leopard wrasse looking bright, healthy and actively patrolling its capacious reef aquarium in the home of David Kayashi.
At this size Kuiter’s leopard wrasse is a subtle beauty with a pattern of numerous small green spots and an earspot. However when it matures it can look remarkably like the unrelated earmuff wrasse, Halichoeres xanti, as seen in this picture of a pair of M. kuiteri from SRS Vanuatu. Ironically enough this Kuiter’s leopard wrasse lives with a nice large earmuff wrasse so it may resist the urge to mature into a male which would be to its benefit lest it gets curb-stomped by its larger tank mate.