Baldchin Groper, Choerodon rubescens (Günther 1862)

Other Names: Baldchin Tuskfish, Baldchin Wrasse, Baldies, Tuskfish, Westralian Baldchin Groper

A male Baldchin Groper, Choerodon rubescens, at the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution


A large wrasse with protruding tusk-like teeth in both jaws, and a distinctive white chin and a white patch on the pectoral-fin base. Baldchin Groper vary in colour ranging from yellowish-brown in juveniles to pinkish-grey or greenish-blue in large males.

Video of a Baldchin Groper foraging for food by disturbing the sediment with its pectoral fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Choerodon rubescens in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Apr 2024,

Baldchin Groper, Choerodon rubescens (Günther 1862)

More Info


Endemic to Western Australia between  Ningaloo Reef and Cape Leeuwin in the south. The species is most abundant in the Houtman Abrolhos, about 70 km west of Geraldton, although Baldchin Groper are becoming increasingly common in the Rottnest-Mandurah region further south.

Adults inhabit coastal and offshore reefs, while juveniles often shelter in shallow weedy areas near reefs.


Feeds on benthic invertebrates such as squid, octopus, sea urchins and sometimes crustaceans.


Baldchin Groper are protogynous hermaphrodites, and begin their adult life as females before changing sex during their life cycle to become males. Although they are solitary or live in small groups, during the breeding season, individuals may form large spawning aggregations of up to a hundred fish.They usually mature as females at around 2-3 years of age and 27 cm TL. Theyproduce eggs for several uyears, before changing sex to male at 8-12 years of age and 48-55 cm TL. While usually solitary or inclined to reside in small groups, baldchin have occasionally been observed to ‘aggregate’ or gather in large groups of up to one hundred fish to spawn. At these times, they may be vulnerable to high levels of fishing. Spawning at the Abrolhos Islands usually occurs from early spring to mid-summer, peaking from November to early January. Females are serial spawners, releasing eggs in a series of batches during the breeding season. 


Highly prized by both commercial and recreational fishers, and considered very good eating. The minimum legal size limit for retention (commercial and recreational) is 40 cm, which is above the length at sexual maturity of about 29 cm.


Baldchin Groper are being found further south along the Western Australian coast due to ocean warming along the Western Australian coast.


The specific name rubescens is from Latin ruber (= red, reddish) and -escens (= becoming) in reference to the reddish colour of the preserved skin of the type specimen: "the ground-colour appears to be reddish, without other markings."

Species Citation

Choerops rubescens Günther 1862, Cat. fishes Brit. Mus. 4: 97. Type locality: Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Baldchin Groper, Choerodon rubescens (Günther 1862)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384039


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-30 m

Fishing:Commercial & recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:100 cm TL


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map