Possum Wrasse, Wetmorella nigropinnata (Seale 1901)

Other Names: Sharpnose Wrasse, White-banded Possum-wrasse, Yellow-banded Possum-wrasse

A Possum Wrasse, Wetmorella nigropinnata, at Ra, Fiji, November 2016. Source: Mark Rosenstein / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A small greyish to reddish-brown wrasse with a yellow bar on the head behind eye, a second yellow bar on the caudal peduncle, dark ocelli on the soft dorsal and anal fins and a large dark spot on the pelvic fins. Juveniles are mottled brown with two additional pale bars on the body.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Wetmorella nigropinnata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/291

Possum Wrasse, Wetmorella nigropinnata (Seale 1901)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Rowley Shoals to Ashmore Reef, Western Australia, and Cape York to Heron Island, Queensland, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Red Sea and tropical Indo-west-Central-Pacific. 

Similar Species

Differs from Wetmorella albofasciata and W. tanakai (not found in Australian waters), in only having two broad slightly oblique pale bars on the body in juveniles and subadults. The two narrow pale bars on W. albofasciata converge on the underside.


Dianne J. Bray

Possum Wrasse, Wetmorella nigropinnata (Seale 1901)


Allen, G.R. & M.V. Erdmann.2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth, Australia: Universitiy of Hawai'i Press, Volumes I-III. Tropical Reef Research.

Bertoncini, A. & Yeeting. B. 2010. Wetmorella nigropinnata. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. . Downloaded on 24 July 2012.

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Randall, J.E. 1983. Revision of the Indo-Pacific labrid fish genus Wetmorella. Copeia 1983(4): 875-883 figs 1-3 pl. 1

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Schultz, L.P. & N.B. Marshall. 1954. A review of the labrid fish genus Wetmorella with descriptions of new forms from the tropical Indo-Pacific. Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus. 103: 439-447.

Seale, A. 1901. Report of a mission to Guam. Part II. Fishes. Occasional Papers of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum 1(3): 61-128.

Westneat, M.W. 2001. Labridae. pp. 3381-3467 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384174

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:1-30 m

Max Size:8 cm TL

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