Comb Wrasse, Coris picta (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

Other Names: Australian Comb Wrasse, Bananafish, Combfish, Comb-fish

A Comb Wrasse, Coris picta, at North Solitary Island, New South Wales. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC By Attribution

Adults are whitish with a prominent wavy or comb-like black stripe from the snout through the eye to the tail tip, and a yellow tail. 
Comb Wrasse inhabit coastal and offshore reefs in eastern Australia from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria, islands, reefs in the Tasman Sea, and also occur off northern New Zealand.

Great video of a Comb Wrasse, Coris picta, at North Bondi, Sydney, Australia - by Thierry Rakotoarivelo.
Video of a Comb Wrasse in the Dallas Aquarium.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Coris picta in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Nov 2019,

Comb Wrasse, Coris picta (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

More Info


Recorded in eastern Australia from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria. Elsewhere, found in northern New Zealand (including the Kermadec Islands), and islands and reefs in the northern Tasman Sea (Lord Howe Island, Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, and Norfolk Island), and in the southern Coral Sea (Chesterfield Reefs off New Caledonia). The species is common in the lagoon and on outer reefs at Lord Howe Island.









Similar Species


Species Citation

Labrus pictus Bloch & Schneider, 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum: 251. Type locality: New South Wales.


Dianne J. Bray


Comb Wrasse, Coris picta (Bloch & Schneider 1801)


Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G. 1801. Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum. Berlin 584 pp. 110 pls.

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

Francis, M.P. 1996. Geographic distribution of marine reef fishes in the New Zealand region. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Resources 30: 35-55.

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp.

Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. 544 pp.

Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. 180 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. 433 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Fairy & Rainbow Wrasses and their Relatives. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 207 pp.

Patterson, H.M. & S.E. Swearer. 2007. Long‐distance dispersal and local retention of larvae as mechanisms of recruitment in an island population of a coral reef fish. Austral Ecology 32(2): 122-130. DOI: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2006.01669.x

Pollard, J. (ed.) 1980. G.P. Whitley's Handbook of Australian Fishes. North Sydney : Jack Pollard Publishing Pty Ltd 629 pp.

Pollard, D., Choat, J.H., Russell, B. & Myers, R. 2010. Coris picta. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. . Downloaded on 10 September 2011.

Ramsay, E.P. 1883. Description of a new species of Coris from Lord Howes' Island and New South Wales. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 7(2): 301-302.

Randall, J.E. 1999. Revision of the Indo-Pacific labrid fishes of the genus Coris, with descriptions of five new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 29: 1-74 pls 1-7 pls 1-22

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384095

Behaviour:Juveniles - cleaner fish

Biology:Hermaphrodite - changes sex

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-60 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:25 cm

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CAAB distribution map