From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

Epibulus insidiator (juv.).jpg

Epibulus insidiator, Slingjaw Wrasse (juvenile). Scott W. Michael

Family: Labridae

Species in Genus Epibulus:

Reference: Reef Fishes Volume 5
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM


The common member of this genus, the Slingjaw Wrasse (Epibulus insidiator), makes an interesting aquarium resident. Juveniles or small adults do well in robust reef aquariums, but they are a threat to crustaceans and small fishes. This species will use its protrusible jaws to wrest its prey from coral branches or reef crevices.

While it prefers live foods (e.g., ghost shrimp) it can be switched to frozen preparations or chopped seafood. If fed ghost shrimp, gut-pack them beforehand with a nutritious frozen or flake food.

An adult slingjaw should be kept in a large aquarium (135 gallons [513 L] or larger) with plenty of hiding places. It will be reclusive and nervous when first introduced, although this will change once it learns to recognize the aquarist as a food provider. While juveniles acclimate more quickly than adults, youngsters tend to spend most of their time slinking from crevice to crevice.

Keep only one per tank. Although it is not usually aggressive toward other fish species in the aquarium, I have seen it chase heterospecifics in the wild. These fish are capable of jumping out of open aquariums.