Zigzag wrasse Halichoeres scapularis

  • Fringing Reef
  • Wrasse
  • Lagoon coral patches
  • Fauna


Halichoeres scapularis, belongs to the order of Perciformes and family of Labridae (Wrasses). It is commonly known as the Brownbanded wrasse, Zigzag sandwrasse, Zigzag wrasse. The initial colour phase of this species is olive to brown-yellow dorsally and white ventrally. It has a black zig zag stripe that runs from the eye to the upper caudal peduncle and has a yellow stripe from the eye to the snout. The terminal colour phase of the species has a green to light green body colour, and its zig zag stripe is lavender or pink with the anterior portion (close to the eye) overlaid by a black blotch. It has a total of 9 dorsal spines, 11 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines and 11 anal soft rays[1].


[1] ‘Halichoeres Scapularis Summary Page’.

Habitat and ecology

This species is present across the Indo-Pacific region. It is found in shallow lagoons, bays or seagrass bottoms. It is usually solitary and territorial. Its diet consists of small crustaceans found on the sand.


Conservation and management

According to the IUCN Red list, this species is categorized as being of ‘Least Concern’. It is collected for consumption which is a potential threat. No conservation measures are in place for this species. It is present in many MPAs.


Did you know?

This species can reach a maximum recorded length of 20cm.