If you have snorkeled or dived at Heart Pontoon chances are you've met our resident Maori Wrasse - Maggie. She's everyone's best friend, loves to pose for a photo and calls Heart Pontoon home.
Maori Wrasse are extremely territorial, this is why Maggie has become the local fish and we know her so well! In some ways these fish, when used to humans, behave more like a puppy dogs than a wild animal! In fact most of our diving guests will have a photo of Maggie in their collection or as their Facebook profile shot.
Not only are they very compelling creatures, but interesting too. Sex reversal is prominent in this species and for wrasses, it is the female who changes sex. Sexual maturation takes up to 5-7 years and the ones who decide to jump the gender ship, do so between the ages of 5 and 15. The reasons for this are not fully understood. At the moment Maggie is still female but is currently changing genders, although if a dominant male visits Heart Pontoon then Maggie is still classified as female. The gender change is dependent on environment and behaviour... so Maggie may not even change at all!
Sometimes Maggie will disappear for a day or two to engage in a reproductive strategy known as ‘spawning aggregation’. This is where sexually mature adults from adjacent reefs gather at specific sites to mate.
The hump-headed wrasse feeds primarily on molluscs, fish, sea urchins, crustaceans, echinoderms, and other invertebrates, using their strong teeth. They are also one of the few predators of the toxic crown of thorns starfish. So not only are they adorable in nature, but they also play a very important role in preserving our beautiful reef by controlling the critters that destroy it.
We think that Maggie will reach a ripe old age of around 32 and being one of the most spectacular sights in the ocean, she will continue to woo our guests for many years to come.