Masked Pigfish, Bodianus flavifrons Gomon 2001

A Masked Pigfish Bodianus flavifrons, primary phase adult, Kermadec Ridge, South of Raoul Island, 118 m - paratype.. Source: Andrew Stewart / Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. License: All rights reserved


The Masked Pigfish is confined in distribution to the south-western corner of the tropical Pacific reaching to northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray, Bodianus flavifrons in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Mar 2024,

Masked Pigfish, Bodianus flavifrons Gomon 2001

More Info


Known only from the southwestern Pacific, in Australia from off Moreton Island, Queensland to Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, the Lord Howe Ridge in the Tasman Sea, southern tip of New Caledonia, and the Kermadec Ridge northeast of New Zealand.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin XII, 10; Anal fin III, 11; Pectoral fin ii 15; Lateral line scales 31-32. 

Predorsal scales 16-23, reaching forward just in advance of vertical through posterior margin of orbit; cheek scales extending forward slightly in advance of corner of mouth; scales absent on lower jaw. Teeth on dental ridge of each jaw in a single row, those anteriorly small but distinct, close behind and in line with prominent anterior canines. Posterior tips of dorsal and anal fins rounded; caudal fin truncate to slightly rounded.


Reaches at least 42 cm SL


Primary phase adults pale pink above and white below with yellow markings on head, including two broad stripes crossing dorsal midline of snout and forehead respectively, a narrow stripe directed posteroventrally from corner of mouth and a yellow hue ventrally on opercle below level of eye; stripe across snout directed posteriorly to lower half of eye, forming yellow rim ventrally; stripe across forehead angled from dorsoposterior margin of eye to upper end of gill opening, suffused with orange behind eye; upper half of pectoral fin base with narrow red blotch, lower half white. Dorsal and caudal fins pale pink, dorsal with faint pale yellow stripe covering basal 2/3 of fin to about middle of soft portion and with red spot basally between first three or four spines. Anal and pelvic fins white. Basal half of pectoral fin pale yellowish with white blotch near base.  Secondary phase adults apparently mostly like primary phase adults except pink and yellow coloration more intense, yellow markings on head especially so, with rather faint third yellow facial stripe across nape paralleling stripe on forehead, fading above gill opening but continuing on back beneath dorsal fin base as irregular greenish marks; yellow stripe extending from corner of mouth merging with yellow area on gill cover; upper half of pectoral fin base with narrow red blotch superimposed with black, lower half yellow with white below.

Similar Species

Apart from a fewer number of lateral line scales (31-32 + 2, versus 34-38 + 2), B. flavifrons closely resembles the Foxfish B. frenchii morphologically, but differs dramatically from it in having distinctive yellow facial markings.  The head in adults of B. frenchii is uniformly red or reddish brown above the level of the jaw and white below it.


The name flavifrons is from the Latin flavus, meaning 'yellow', and frons meaning 'brow' or 'forehead', in reference to the distinctive yellow markings on the head of adults of this species.

Species Citation

Bodianus flavifrons Gomon, 2001. Descriptions of two new species of Bodianus (Perciformes: Labridae) from Australasian waters. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 28: 411, figs 1-2.


Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray

Masked Pigfish, Bodianus flavifrons Gomon 2001


Gomon, M.F. 2001. Descriptions of two new species of Bodianus (Perciformes: Labridae) from Australasian waters. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 28: 407-416.

Gomon, M.F. 2006. A revision of the labrid fish genus Bodianus with descriptions of eight new species. Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 30: 1-133.

Roberts, C.D & A.L. Stewart. 2002. Two new foxfishes described. Seafood New Zealand. New Zealand Seafood Industry Magazine Limited. February 2002: 81-84.

Russell, B. 2010. Bodianus flavifrons. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. . Downloaded on 25 May 2014.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384062

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:114-340 m

Max Size:42 cm SL

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