Humphead wrasses are extremely long-lived, known to survive for at least 30 years, and taking around five to seven years to reach sexual maturity (5). Adults are usually solitary, spending the day roaming the reef and returning to particular caves or ledges to rest at night (2). Very little is known about these fish; adult females are able to change sex but the triggers for this development are not known (5). Pairs spawn together as part of a larger mating group that may consist of over 100 individuals. The planktonic eggs are released into the water and once the larvae have hatched they will settle out on the substrate (5).
Using their tough teeth, these fish are able to consume hard-shelled species such as molluscs, echinoderms and crustaceans (5). They are one of the few predators of species that destroy coral reefs, such as the infamous crown of thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) (2).