Six barred wrasseThalassoma hardwicke

  • Fringing Reef
  • Wrasses
  • Fauna
  • Lagoon coral patches


Thalassoma hardwicke, belongs to the order of Perciformes and family Labridae. It is commonly known as the Six barred wrasse, Six-banded wrasse, Six-bar wrasse or police guard in Mauritius. It has an elongated body that is compressed laterally. Its colour pattern is fairly similar in both primary and terminal males. The body is a pale green to yellow colour with 6 large vertical stripes that reduce in length and fade as they reach the ventral part of the body, the last two stripes are on the tail. The head is green-blue in colour, it has pink bands that radiate from the eye. There is a strongly hooked profile or beak[1]. Its Anal fin has a black spot on the first rays. It has total of 8 dorsal spines, 12 to 14 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines and 11 anal soft rays[2]. This species can reach a maximum length of 20cm.         


[1] ‘Thalassoma Hardwicke | DORIS’.

[2] ‘Thalassoma Hardwicke Summary Page’.

Habitat and ecology

Thalassoma hardwicke is present across the Indo-Pacific region. Its recorded depth range is between 0 and 15m. It is found in shallow lagoons and seaward reefs, drop offs, and slopes. Its diet consists of small crustaceans, small fish, plankton, foraminifera (single-celled protists with shells) and fish eggs. This species can be observed in loose aggregations, but distinct pairing occurs at the time of breeding.


Conservation and management

According to the IUCN Red list, this species is categorized as being of ‘Least Concern’ as it is common and widespread. It is often collected for the aquarium trade and juveniles are associated with certain coral species. Coral bleaching and loss of habitat due to anthropogenic impacts can impact population numbers in certain regions. No conservation measures are in place for this species. However, it is present in many MPAs[1].


[1] Shea, Liu, and Sadovy, ‘Thalassoma Hardwicke.’

Did you know?

This species of Wrasse has been observed to make use of tools in order to break its food into smaller pieces so that it is easier for it to consume[1].


[1] Paśko, ‘Tool-like Behavior in the Sixbar Wrasse, Thalassoma Hardwicke (Bennett, 1830)’.