Slingjaw wrasse Epibulus insidiator

  • Fringing Reef
  • Wrasses
  • Lagoon coral patches
  • Fauna


Epibulus insidiator, belongs to the order of Perciformes and family of Labridae (Wrasses) it is commonly known as  Slingjaw, Slingjaw wrasse or Telescopefish. Juveniles are brown with thin white streaks on their sides and white bars radiating from the eye. This species has a mouth that can protrude and form a tube that can be as long as half its body’s length. The jaw can extend forward and has strong suction to capture prey. This tube can be folded under the head when not in use. Adults vary in colour depending on age and sex. Females are brown or yellow, whereas terminal males are dark with pale or white heads and a dark streak that extends horizontally across the eye. Males also have an orange back, dark scale margins and a yellow vertical bar on their side. It has a total of 9 to 10 dorsal spines, 9 to 11 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines and 8 to 9 anal soft rays[1].


[1] ‘Epibulus Insidiator Summary Page’.

Habitat and ecology

This species is present across the Indo-Pacific region. It is found in coral rich areas and seaward reefs. Adults can also be seen near drop offs and steep slopes. Diet consists of crustaceans and fish that inhabit corals. This species can be seen visiting cleaning stations. During courtship, the colour of males intensifies. Spawning has been recorded during March, April, May, July, September and October.


Conservation and management

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


[1] ‘Epibulus Insidiator.’

Did you know?

This species can reach a maximum recorded length of 54cm.