The Redlip Morwong is commonly seen on shallow rocky reefs off the western Western Australian coastline and less frequently along the southern coastline.
The species has a pale tan body, with seven brown bars. The pale interspaces are speckled with brown spots and blotches. The fins are also pale with brown spots. The lips are bright red, giving the fish its scientific name rubro meaning red and labiatusreferring to the lips.
The species is endemic to Western Australia and can be found from the Recherche Archipelago in the south to Coral bay in the north.
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.
Life history cycle
Like all Cheilodactylids, the Redlip Morwong transforms from its larval stage to what is known as the 'paperfish' stage. During this stage the fish lives a pelagic existence, as opposed to its later demersal life. The body is highly compressed and usually silvery in colour. After the fish settles (finds a suitable home on the reef), the body shape changes to the adult form.
- Allen, G. 1976. Cheilodactylus rubrolabiatus, a new species of Morwong (Pisces: Cheilodactylidae) from Wetsern Australia, with a key to the Cheilodactylid Fishes of Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus, 4(4).
- 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.
- Hutchins, B. & M. Thompson. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 103.