Anchor Tuskfish, Choerodon anchorago (Bloch 1791)

Other Names: Orangedotted Tuskfish, Orange-dotted Tuskfish, Orange-dotted Tusk-fish, White-belly Tuskfish

An Anchor Tuskfish, Choerodon anchorago, in the Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua, Indonesia, 2015. Source: Jim Greenfield / FishBase. License: All rights reserved

The distinct black band encircling the fleshy pectoral fin base, tapering yellow bar behind the pectoral fin and upper half of the caudal peduncle distinctly white distinguish it from other members of the genus. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Choerodon anchorago in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jul 2024,

Anchor Tuskfish, Choerodon anchorago (Bloch 1791)

More Info


Northern Great Barrier Reef, to Goat Island, southern Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the north-eastern Indian Ocean and western Pacific from southern Japan to north-eastern Australia and New Caledonia. Inhabits coastal seagrass and sandy areas with mixed coral and rubble on reef flats, reef crests, in channels and lagoons, in depths to about 25 m. it inhabits reef crests and slopes with algae and soft corals. Juveniles occur inshore and often form small aggregations in seagrass beds where near mangrove or freshwater run-offs


Dorsal fin XIII, 7; Anal fin III, 9; Pectoral fin ii, 13-14; Vertebrae 11+16=27.


Caudal peduncle with a broad pale saddle extending anteriorly to below posterior end of dorsal fin base; a pale wedge-shaped band present midlaterally on side below about 5th dorsal fin spine; head dusky above level of mouth, covered by tiny pale spots (orange in life).


Like most other species in the family, the Anchor Tuskfish is a broad spectrum feeder, and is often seen turning over lumps of coral in search of hard-shelled prey.


The specific name anchorago may refer to an anchor-like colour pattern, as perceived by its author (Gomon 2017).

Species Citation

Sparus anchorago Bloch 1791, Naturgeschichte der ausländischen Fische 5: 108. Type locality unknown. 


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Anchor Tuskfish, Choerodon anchorago (Bloch 1791)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

Bloch, M.E. 1791. Naturgeschichte der ausländischen Fische. Berlin : J. Morino Vol. 5 152 pp. pls 253-288.

Ferry-Graham, L.A., Wainwright, P.C., Westneat, M.W. & Bellwood, D.R. 2002. Mechanisms of benthic prey capture in wrasses (Labridae). Marine Biology 141: 819-830.

Gomon, M.F. 2017. A review of the tuskfishes, genus Choerodon (Labridae, Perciformes), with descriptions of three new species. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 76: 1-111 DOI: access

Jordan, D.S. & Richardson, R.E. 1908. Fishes from the islands of the Philippine Archipelago. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries (U.S.) for 1907 27: 233-287 figs 1-12 

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 2010. Labridae fishes: wrasses. Seaford, Victoria, Australia : Aquatic Photographics 398 pp.

Lacépède, B.G. 1801. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : chez Plassan Vol. 3 558 pp. 34 pls. (as Labrus macrodontus)

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls. 

Ogilby, J.D. 1909. On the generic name Chœrops, Rüppell. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Zoology, Botany, Geology 8 3: 315-316 

Ogilby, J.D. 1911. Descriptions of new or insufficiently described fishes from Queensland waters. Annals of the Queensland Museum 10: 36-58 figs 5-6 (as Choerodon weberi)

Ogilby, J.D. 1913. Ichthyological notes. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 2: 90-93

Puckridge, M., P.R. Last & N. Andreakis. 2015. The role of peripheral endemism and habitat associations in the evolution of the Indo-West Pacific tuskfishes (Labridae:Choerodon). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 64-72. Abstract

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Shea, S. & Liu, M. 2010. Choerodon anchorago. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187578A8573421. Downloaded on 03 September 2017.

Wainwright, P.C., Bellwood, D.R., Westneat, M.W., Grubich, J.R. & Hoey, A.S. 2004. A functional morphospace for the skull of labrid fishes: patterns of diversity in a complex biomechanical system. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 82: 1-25.

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:37384071

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-25 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational, aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:50 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map