Southern Tubelip, Labropsis australis Randall 1981

Other Names: Tubelip Wrasse

A Southern Tubelip, Labropsis australis, at Vatu-i-ra, Fiji, March 2012. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A small purplish-grey to brown wrasse with a darker head, many yellowish spots on the sides, prominent pale lips, a dusky border on the caudal fin and a yellow blotch on the upper pectoral-fin base. Females (initial phase) are more yellowish-brown with two dusky stripes along the side and a bluish-grey head. Juveniles are black with broad white stripes along the upper and lower sides.
A small wrasse that feeds on coral polyps as adults, while juveniles remove parasites from other fishes.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Labropsis australis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Southern Tubelip, Labropsis australis Randall 1981

More Info


Hibernia Reef, Western Australia, and the northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea, to the Solitary Islands, New South Wales; also the Lord Howe Island Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Southwest Pacific - Solomon Islands to Samoa Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Loyalty Islands in New Caledonia, and Tonga. Inhabits areas with rich coral growth in reefs lagoons, passages and slopes.


Adults feed on coral polyps while juveniles remove ectoparasites and possibly mucus from other reef fishes.

Species Citation

Labropsis australis Randall 1981, Micronesica 17(1–2): 149, pl. 5A-C. Type locality: One Tree Island, Capricorn Group. 


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Southern Tubelip, Labropsis australis Randall 1981


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.

Choat, J.H. 2010. Labropsis australis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187675A8597680. Downloaded on 09 July 2019.

Choat, J.H., van Herwerden, L., Robbins, W.D., Hobbs, J.P. & Ayling, A.M. 2006. A report on the ecological surveys undertaken at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, February 2006. Report by James Cook University to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 65 pp.

Cole, A.J., Pratchett, M.S. & Jones, G.P. 2008. Diversity and functional importance of coral-feeding fishes on tropical coral reefs. Fish and Fisheries 9: 286-307.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 

Francis, M.P. & Randall, J.E. 1993. Further additions to the fish faunas of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 118-135 figs 1-22 pls 1-4

Huertas, V. & Bellwood, D.R. 2017. Mucus-secreting lips offer protection to suction-feeding corallivorous fishes. Current Biology DOI:

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

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

Oxley, W.G., Ayling, A.M., Cheal, A.J. & Osborne, K. 2004. Marine surveys undertaken in the Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Marine National Nature Reserve, December 2003. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Sciences 64 pp. 

Oxley, W.G., Emslie, M., Muir, P. & Thompson, A.A. 2004. Marine surveys undertaken in the Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve, March 2004. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Science i-vii, 1-67 pp.

Randall, J.E. 1981. Revision of the labrid fish genus Labropsis with description of five new species. Micronesica 17(1-2): 125-155.

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. 

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 

Russell, B.C., Larson, H.K., Hutchins, J.B. & Allen, G.R. 2005. Reef fishes of the Sahul Shelf. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Supplement 1 2005: 83-105

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:37384132


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-55 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:10.5 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map