Animal Species:Luculent Wrasse, Pseudolabrus luculentus (Richardson, 1848)

Luculentus Wrasse changes colour phase depending on life stage and gender. The species is recorded from Australia and New Zealand.

Luculent Wrasse, Pseudolabrus luculentus

Luculent Wrasse, Pseudolabrus luculentus
Photographer: David and Leanne Atkinson © David and Leanne Atkinson

Standard Common Name

Luculent Wrasse

Alternative Name/s

Luculentus Wrasse


Luculentus Wrasse, like many species of wrasses, goes through different colour phases depending on life stage and gender. Large males can be recognised by a series of black and white blotches along the base of the dorsal fin. Females have white stripes on the cheek and white spots on the lower half of the body but lack the blotches seen in males.

Size range

The species grows to 25 cm in length.


It is recorded from New Zealand and Australia. In Australia it is known from marine coastal waters of northern New South Wales to northern Victoria, but is much more common at Lord Howe Island.

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.

Pseudolabrus luculentus</

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Luculent Wrasse specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Feeding and Diet

Food consists of small crustaceans and hermit crabs (Francis, 2001). Juveniles are facultative cleaner symbionts (Ayling & Grace, 1971).  Thank you to Dr Barry Russell for supplying this information.



What does this mean?


  1. Ayling, A.M. & R.V. Grace. 1971: Cleaning symbiosis among New Zealand fishes. New Zealand journal of marine and freshwater research 5:205-218.
  2. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  3. Francis, M.P. 2001. Coastal Fishes of New Zealand An Identification Guide (3rd ed). ReedBooks, Auckland.
  4. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  6. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  7. Russell, B.C. 1988. Revision of The Labrid Fish Genus Pseudolabrus and Allied Genera. Records of the Australian Museum. Supplement 9: 1-72, pl. 1-4.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Luculent Wrasse, Pseudolabrus luculentus, Labridae, pink, white, deep-bodied, 10 cm - 30 cm, countershaded, marine, adult,