Mardi Gras Wrasse
The Burek’s have received numerous awards; one being having a newly discovered fish named after them – the Mardi Gras Wrasse, Latin name Halichoeres burekae.
In the 2007 (4) Copeia scientific journal, pages 798-807 is a paper by Douglas C. Weaver and Luiz A. Rocha describing this new member of the Wrasse family. The Mardi Gras Wrasse, Halichoeres burekae, has been found in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) and the reefs off Veracruz, Mexico, in the western Gulf of Mexico.
The Mardi Gras Wrasse is about 55 mm long (it’s small). “The common name “Mardi Gras Wrasse” refers to the vivid purple, yellow, and green colors of the Mardi Gras tradition displayed by terminal males of this species.” The females tend to mix with other schools of wrasse and are plankton eaters. The males, if around, tend to dart quickly in and out of the schools, often heading to the deeper areas of the FGBNMS.
Joyce Burek provided the first pictures of the male and female Mardi Gras Wrasse, requesting help in identifying them, to the FGBNMS. Once it was determined that it fit no known fish, the search began to locate and describe this unique fish. For this reason (the key factor that started the search), and other scientific support work that Frank and Joyce have provided the FGBNMS for years, the new species was named in their honor. This discovery, photographing, sampling, describing, publishing process took over 10 years.