(Image credit: Ian Shaw)
The redspot wrasse changes in colouration as it grows, matures and changes sex. It transitions through two phases – initial (females) and terminal (transition between female and male).
Initial phase fish are grey with small white spots on the upper body and head. Spots are especially fine on the head. The scales on the lower half of the body are white edged. A yellow blotch is found on the cheek under the eye. Two faint white bands run horizontally from above and below the eye along the body. At the base of the pectoral fin is an orange spot (this spot turns red in terminal phase fish giving rise to the common name).
In the terminal phase the fish changes sex to male and the colouration is altered. The body is brownish green on the upper half and light blue to white on the lower half. Four thin, wavy iridescent blue lines begin at the mouth and behind the eye and run horizontally along the body. The orange spot at the base of the transparent pectoral fin in the initial phase darkens to be a deeper red. The cheeks are faint yellow.
This fish is rarely seen resting as it constantly moves and forages around rubble.
Length: Up to 15 cm
Shallow lagoons and coastal areas of rock and sand; 3-30 m depth
In New South Wales, log if spotted in Pt Stephens and south
Species names on the Redmap site are based on the Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota or CAAB (http://www.cmar.csiro.au/caab/). This is updated regularly and lists the approved common name, family, species name and more.
Find further information and images at FISHES OF AUSTRALIA http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/