Halichoeres marginatus (Dusky wrasse)


The Dusky Wrasse has a different appearance as it changes from juvenile to adult. Juveniles are black with numerous lengthwise white streaks and one to three black eye spots on the fins, depending on the age. Sub adults and females are reddish with horizontal stripes while males are green with red broken horizontal stripes.


Has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List.


This species is found from the Red Sea south to Inhaca Island, Mozambique and east to the Hawaiian and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to the southern Great Barrier Reef and Austral Islands.
Lives at lagoon and seaward reefs.
Juveniles are encountered in exposed outer reef flats while adults in coral rich areas.
Depth range is 0.5 to 30 meter.


Females migrate to spawning sites, larger females travel long distances to downcurrent areas than smaller ones to protect the eggs from becoming prey to larger reef fishes. Spawning sites are chosen by the females regardless of the males occupying them. Females spawn in more than one spawning site, each site occupied by more than one male, which are either territorial or non-territorial. After spawning, they return individually to their home ranges without passing through other spawning sites.


Max length : 18.0 cm

Prey / Predation

Feeds on a wide variety of small invertebrates as well as fish eggs.

Special features

Some females change sex after spawning. As males, they begin to establish territories in the spawning sites, even to those they visited before the sex change.