| Common names: wrasse (English), vieja (Espanol) |
Thalassoma purpureum (Forsskål, 1775)
Elongate (body of large adults relatively deep (~ 36% of SL)), compressed body; 1 pair canines at front of top jaw, 1 pair on bottom, none at rear of jaws; preopercle edge smooth; dorsal fin VIII, 13; anal rays III, 11; pectoral rays 15-17; tail fin bluntly straight; lateral line unbroken, but bends abruptly down near end of soft dorsal fin; scales large (25 on lateral line), smooth; head scaleless except for a few scales on upper operculum.
Head and body green; a red V on snout before eye, 2 oblique red bars from eye down across operculum; 2 red stripes along flank; sides with thin irregular red vertical lines following scale edges; dorsal and anal green with red bands along bases; large males - base color is blue-green to blue, red bars on head and 2 red stripes along side greatly intensified.
Size: 46 cm.
Habitat: wave swept rocky habitat.
Depth: 0-20 m.
An Indo-Pacific species found at Cocos, Clipperton, the Galapagos, the Gulf of Chiriqui, Panama, and around the Bat Islands, western Costa Rica.