Striped Rainbow Wrasse, Suezichthys bifurcatus Russell 1986

Other Names: Striped Trawl Wrasse, Striped Trawl-wrasse

A male Striped Rainbow Wrasse, Suezichthys bifurcatus. Source: Barry Hutchins / Western Australian Museum. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A brownish wrasse becoming paler below with a narrow broken stripe along the mid-upper side, a black mid-lateral stripe, irregular dark spots along the back and dorsal-fin base, a dark spot on the upper pectoral-fin base and yellow dorsal, anal and caudal fins in males (terminal phase).
Females (initial phase) and juveniles lack dark stripes along the side, and have a faint dusky band from the snout to the eye, a series of irregular dark spots along the scaly base of soft dorsal fin, the last spot extending onto base of last three dorsal-fin rays, a blackish mark dorsally on caudal-fin base, and a black spot on the upper pectoral-fin base.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Suezichthys bifurcatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Dec 2023,

Striped Rainbow Wrasse, Suezichthys bifurcatus Russell 1986

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L,atcroscnsory canal tubes bilurcate: 2v: transverse scale tows above lateral line; low scaly sheath along base of dorsal and anal fins; black spot present at upper origin of pectoral tin.


Endemic to southern and south-western Australia, from southwest of Port Lincoln, South Australia, to Rottnest Island, Western Australia.
Inhabits rubble areas near macroalgae on deeper rocky reefs.


Dorsal fin IX, II; Anal fin III, 10; caudal-fin rays 6+2+12+2+5; Pectoral fin ii, 11; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral-line scales 25?; Transverse scale rows above lateral line 2.%; Transverse scale rows below lateral line 7.5; Cheek scale rows behind eye  I; cheek scale rows below eye 2?; Vertebrae 9 + 16; Gill rakers first arch 16-18.
Body depth 3.3-3.7 in SL; head length 2.7-2.8 in SL; Snout length 4.1-4.2 in HL; Orbit diameter 3.6-(3.8 in HL;  Interorbital width 5.8-6.0 in HL.
Upper jaw with pair of enlarged, recurved canines anteriorly; 12-14 progressively smaller canine teeth  laterally in upper jaw, with inner row of 6-8 small  canines behind anterior-most teeth; enlarged at posterior end of upper jaw; lower jaw with 2 pairs of enlarged anterior canines, second pair shorter than first; 12-14 progressively smaller lateral teeth in lower jaw, with inner row of 3-4 small canines  behind anterior-most teeth.
Laterosensory canal tubes bifurcate; low scaly sheath present at base of dorsal and anal fins; caudal fin truncate to slightly rounded.


Occasionally taken as by-catch in bottom trawls.

Similar Species

Differs from other Australian species of Suezichthys in having lateral-line scales with a bifurcate laterosensory canal tube (vs. a simple unbranched canal tube). 


The specific name bifurcatus refers to the bifurcate laterosensory canal tube on the lateral-line scales of this species.

Species Citation

Suezichthys bifurcatus Russell 1986, Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Aust. 110(2): 59, figs 1-2. Type locality: Great Australian Bight, WA. 


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Striped Rainbow Wrasse, Suezichthys bifurcatus Russell 1986


Gomon, M.F. &. Russell, B.C. 1994. Family Labridae. pp. 675-699 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth: Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Fairy & Rainbow Wrasses and their Relatives. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 207 pp. 

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

Russell, B.C. 1986. A new species of Suezichthys (Pisces : Labridae) from the Great Australian Bight. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 110(2): 59-61. See ref at BHL

Russell, B.C. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Labridae. pp. 638-659 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Russell, B. & Sadovy, Y.J. 2010. Suezichthys bifurcatus . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154720A4617579. Downloaded on 28 October 2016.

Russell, B.C. & Westneat, M.W. 2013. A new species of Suezichthys (Teleostei: Perciformes: Labridae) from the south-eastern Pacific, with a redefinition of the genus and a key to species. Zootaxa 3640(1): 88-94

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:37384160


Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:26-125 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:11 cm SL


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