Animal Species:Castelnau's Wrasse, Dotalabrus aurantiacus (Castelnau, 1872)

Juvenile Castelnau's Wrasse and females are green to pale red. Males can be reddish-brown, orange, yellowish, green or pale with four broken black bars.  The species is an Australian endemic, occurring from southern Victoria to south-western Western Australia, plus the east coast of Tasmania.

Castelnau's Wrasse at Rapid Bay Jetty

Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Castelnau's Wrasse

Alternative Name/s

Pretty Polly

Identification

Castelnau's Wrasse can be recognised by its colouration. Juveniles and females are green to pale red with five irregular dark bars on the body and an ocellus at the rear of the dorsal and anal fins. Males can be reddish-brown, orange, yellowish, green or pale with four broken black bars on the body and black lines around the eyes. The margins of the caudal, dorsal and anal fins are black.

Two species of Dotalabrus are known from Australian waters. The second is the Little Rainbow Wrasse (sometimes called Allen's Polly), D.alleni, which is found in shallow marine waters of south-western Western Australia.

Size range

The species grows to 14 cm in length.

Distribution

It occurs from southern Victoria to south-western Western Australia, plus the east coast of Tasmania.

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.

Dotalabrus aurantiacus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Castelnau's Wrasse specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

Castelnau's Wrasse occurs in seagrass beds and weedy areas on rocky reefs.

Other behaviours and adaptations

It swims by bobbing up and down at an oblique angle, with the head up and tail down.

Classification

Species:
aurantiacus
Genus:
Dotalabrus
Family:
Labridae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. Gomon, M.F. & B.C. Russell. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Castelnau's Wrasse, Dotalabrus aurantiacus, Labridae, Pretty Polly, black, white, silver, yellow, blue, grey, 'normal fish', 10 cm - 30 cm, blotches/mottled, rocky reef, kelp/algae/seagrass, marine, adult,