Dusky wrasseHalichoeres marginatus

  • Fringing Reef
  • Wrasses
  • Lagoon coral patches
  • Fauna


The Halichoeres marginatus, of the order of Perciformes and family of Labridae (Wrasses) is commonly known as the Dusky Wrasse, Splendid Rainbow Wrasse, Two-eyed Wrasse. Males are green to brownish in colour with thin blue stripes or rows of blue spots along its sides and a broad yellow margin is also present. There are blue spots on the pectoral fin and a green crescent shaped band on the tail base. Females are brown with darker stripes on the sides, they have a black ocellus on the dorsal fin and green margin on the caudal fin. Juveniles are black or dark brown with thin narrow white stripes on the side, a blue-black ocellus on the dorsal fin and white blotches on the back. This species has a total of 9 dorsal spines, 13 to 14 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines and 12 to 13 anal soft rays[1].


[1] ‘Halichoeres Marginatus Summary Page’.

Habitat and ecology

This species is present across the Indo-Pacific region. It is found along upper edges of coal rich areas and seaward reefs. Recoded depth range is between 0 and 30m. Juveniles are present on outer exposed reef flats. Diet consists of small invertebrates and fish eggs. Females migrate to spawn in territories where males might already be present. Certain females return to their home range after spawning, others change sex and begin to establish territories in spawning sites.


Conservation and management

According to the IUCN Red list, this species is categorized as being of ‘Least Concern’. It is however collected for aquarium trade. No conservation measures are in place for this species. It is present in many MPAs[1].


[1] IUCN, ‘Halichoeres Marginatus’.

Did you know?

This species can reach a maximum recorded length of 18cm.