Animal Species:Bluehead Wrasse, Thalassoma amblycephalum (Bleeker, 1856)

The Bluehead Wrasse changes colour as it grows.  Juveniles and adults look very different.

Bluehead Wrasse, Thalassoma amblycephalum

Ian Shaw © Ian Shaw

Standard Common Name

Bluehead Wrasse

Alternative Name/s

Bluntheaded Wrasse, Two-tone Wrasse, Paddle-fin Wrasse

Identification

The Bluehead Wrasse is an elongate species with a small mouth. There is a pair of canines at the front of both jaws. These are followed posteriorly by progressively smaller conical teeth. The caudal fin is truncate to emarginate becoming lunate in older males.

Initial phase fish are greenish to brownish above, and white below. They have a broad dark stripe along the side of the body. Terminal phase males have a bluish head followed posteriorly by a broad pale band in the pectoral region. The body is reddish with vertical green lines.
 

Size range

The species grows to 16 cm in length.

Distribution

The species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific.

In Australia it is known from south-western to north-western Western Australia, and from the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, south to southern New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Thalassoma amblycephalum</

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Bluehead Wrasse specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Feeding and Diet

It eats zooplankton.

Classification

Species:
amblycephalum
Genus:
Thalassoma
Family:
Labridae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  4. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Bluehead Wrasse, Thalassoma amblycephalum, Labridae, blue, yellow, green, red, pink, purple, long and skinny, 10 cm - 30 cm, stripes or bands, marine, adult,