A ‘Napoleonic’ war has broken out at Sea Life Manchester as their new resident has begun to make waves in his new home.
Their new arrival, Bonaparte, of the rare species Napoleon Wrasse, was ready for battle when he came into the tank this week, upsetting former ‘tank boss’, a Grouper named Alexander.
Upon arriving at his new home at the Trafford Centre, Napoleon immediately wanted to mark out his territory, giving former tank dictator Alexander no oppor-tuna-ty for discussion.
The two underwater critters circled each other as visitors to the centre watched on with baited breath.
Lucy Handel, curator at Sea Life Manchester, said: ‘Napoleon Wrasse do have natural ‘dictatorial’ tendencies, so Bonaparte’s behaviour was just as we had expected.
“The stand-off was very exciting for those watching via the viewing window. They got to experience the action close-up, treading the front lines.”
Eventually, the Grouper backed down in surrender, waving his white flag – literally changing his colour from brown to white – leaving Bonaparte to take ownership of the tank.
Bonaparte was brought to the aquarium as part of a breeding programme intended to save the unusual species from extinction.
His family face their own battle back in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, where fishermen’s use of cyanide to stun the fish is wiping out the population.
While Bonaparte now dominates his new tank, the Grouper has set up camp next to the viewing window, where he’s pretty content with the constant admiration of the visitors to the aquarium.
This small victory for the Wrasse family marks a big step in the species’ fight for survival.