Animal Species:Clown Wrasse, Coris gaimard (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)

Juvenile Clown Wrasse can be recognised by their distictive colouration. The species occurs in tropical marine water of the Western and Central Pacific.

Standard Common Name

Clown Wrasse

Alternative Name/s

Gaimard Rainbow-wrasse, Gaimard's Wrasse, Red-finned Rainbowfish, Yellowtail Coris


The Clown Wrasse can be recognised by its colouration. It is red to green with small bright blue spots on the body. The head is brownish with orange lines. The caudal fin is yellow. Large males have a green bar on the body above the anal fin origin.

Juveniles are red to orange with three black-edged white saddles on the back. There are two similar but smaller markings on the head.

Size range

It grows to 40 cm in length.


The species occurs in tropical marine water of the Western and Central Pacific.

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.

Coris gaimard

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Clown Wrasse specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?


It is found in coral, sand and rubble areas of coral reefs and lagoons.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  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.
  6. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
  7. Westneat, M.W., 2001 Labridae. Wrasses, hogfishes, razorfishes, corises, tuskfishes. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony Fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-v, 3381-4218.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Clown Wrasse, Coris gaimard, Labridae, orange, white, black, 'normal fish', deep-bodied, 30 cm - 1 m, stripes or bands, coral reef, marine, adult,