Splendid Wrasse, Pseudojuloides splendens Victor 2017

Other Names: Candy Wrasse, Long Blue-lined Wrasse, Pencil Wrasse, Smalltail Wrasse

A male (TP) Splendid Wrasse, Pseudojuloides splendens, at North Solitary Island, New South Wales, March 2012. Source: Ian Shaw / Atlas of Living Australia. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Males are green above, blue below with a blue stripe above a yellow stripe along the midside, two blue stripes across the gill cover, a black bar or half-moon shape outlined in blue margins on the outer half of the caudal fin, and a brownish-orange stripe along the top of the head and dorsal-fin base.
Females (initial phase IP) are orangish to reddish or pink, becoming whitish below, with a yellowish and/or bluish snout yellowish often with a dark spot on the tip, yellowish fins, and no dark mark at the front of the dorsal fin. Juveniles are salmon pink with yellowish fins. 

Splendid Wrasses occur in small harems dominated by the brightly-coloured males.
In Australia, this species was previously known as Pseudojuloides cerasinus, which is restricted to the Hawaiian Islands (Victor 2017).

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Pseudojuloides splendens in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Mar 2021,

Splendid Wrasse, Pseudojuloides splendens Victor 2017

More Info


Northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea, to Sydney, New South Wales; also Lord Howe Island. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical and sub-tropical West Pacific, including southern Japan in the north, to New South Wales, Australia, in the south, in the West Pacific island chains ranging from the Northern Mariana Islands south to Lord Howe Island, and east to Kwajalein Atoll in the north Pacific and to Samoa in the south Pacific.
The Splendid Wrasse mostly occurs in offshore coral-reef areas in relatively deep-water habitats over rubble bottoms.


Dorsal fin IX,11; Anal fin III,12; Pectoral fin 13; Lateral-line scales 27 (+1 on caudal-fin base); Gill rakers 14–17; a single pair of large, projecting, and slightly recurved canine teeth anteriorly in each jaw, the upper pair slightly out-flaring, the lowers curving forward and fitting between uppers when mouth closed; a short irregular row of 3–9 chisel-like incisiform teeth on each side of upper and lower jaws, no canine posteriorly at corner of mouth; elongate body, body depth 4.0–4.3 in SL; moderately compressed, body width 1.8–2.4 in body depth;  no scales on head; 


Terminal phase (TP) males are greenish above and bluish below with a mid-lateral blue stripe running from behind operculum to mid-base of caudal fin, overlying a parallel, equally wide, yellow stripe; a variable broad band of brown to orange along dorsal midline; upper head yellowish green, lower head blue, a variable dark and/or tan dorsal midline band on snout; stripes on snout in front of eye brownish dorsally, then blue and green; two blue stripes behind eye crossing operculum; dorsal and anal fins yellowish to greenish with two blue stripes, one along lower central portion and second along margin of fins, dorsal-fin-spine tips orange; 
Female initial phase (IP) individuals are orangish to reddish or pink, grading to whitish ventrally, snout yellowish, median fins yellowish, pectoral fin translucent. Juveniles uniformly reddish orange with yellowish snout and median fins.


Females and juveniles live in small groups or harems dominated by a male.


The species is named splendens for the splendid color pattern of the terminal phase (TP) male.

Species Citation

Pseudojuloides splendens Victor 2017, Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 29: Figs 1–6, 14. Type locality: Pango, Efate, Vanuatu, –17.778°, 168.295°.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory as Pseudojuloides cerasinus.

Splendid Wrasse, Pseudojuloides splendens Victor 2017


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. (in part as Pseudojuloides cerasinus, p. 715 figs)

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2, doi: 10.3853/j.0067-1975.30.1976.287 open access (as Pseudojuloides cerasinus)

Ayling, A.M. & Russell, B.C. 1977. The labrid fish genus Pseudojuloides with description of a new species. The Australian Zoologist 19(2): 169-178 figs 1-10 (in part as Pseudojuloides cerasinus)

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 (as Pseudojuloides cerasinus

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.  (as Pseudojuloides cerasinus

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

Oxley, W.G., Ayling, A.M., Cheal, A.J. & Thompson, A.A. 2003. Marine surveys undertaken in the Coringa-Herald National Nature Reserve, March-April 2003. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Science 59 pp. (as Pseudojuloides cerasinus)

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. (as Pseudojuloides cerasinus

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. (as Pseudojuloides cerasinus

Randall, J.E. & Randall, H.A. 1981. A revision of the labrid fish genus Pseudojuloides, with descriptions of five new species. Pacific Science 35(1): 51-74.

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 (as Pseudojuloides cerasinus)

Victor, B.C. 2017. Review of the Indo-Pacific Pseudojuloides cerasinus species complex with a description of two new species (Teleostei: Labridae). Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 29: 11–31 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1068462 Open access

Victor, B.C. & Edward, J.M.B. 2015. Pseudojuloides zeus, a new deep-reef wrasse (Perciformes: Labridae) from Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 15: 41-52. PDF open access (as Pseudojuloides cerasinus)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384147


Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:2-61 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:12 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map