Western King Wrasse, Coris auricularis (Valenciennes 1839)


Other Names: Blushing Wrasse, King Wrasse

A male Western King Wrasse, Coris auricularis, at Rottnest Island, Western Australia, June 2019. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Summary:
Juveniles are dark reddish to black with a narrow white stripe above the lateral line and a broader white mid-lateral stripe. Females (intermediate phase) are pale greenish to pinkish with a reddish-brown tapering stripe above the lateral line. Large males (terminal phase) are salmon pink to purplish, with a paler chin and throat, a bluish-black mark on the rear of the gill cover and a broad white vertical band on the abdomen.

Lives in small haremic groups with a dominant male controlling several juveniles and females.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Coris auricularis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Sep 2020, http://136.154.202.208/home/species/1932

Western King Wrasse, Coris auricularis (Valenciennes 1839)

More Info


Distribution

Investigator Group, South Australia, to  Exmouth, Western Australia. The species is most abundant between Perth and Geraldton.
The most abundant wrasse over reefs in many parts of its range. Commonly inhabits sandy areas and seagrass beds on offshore reefs.

Features

Dorsal fin IX, 12; Anal fin III, 12; Caudal fin 14; Pectoral fin 14; Pelvic fin I, 5; lateral line scales 83-84.
Body shallow (approx. 26% SL), moderately elongate, compressed; head small (approx. 26% SL), dorsal profile convex; eyes small (approx. 17% HL); mouth small, upper jaw  not reaching as far as eye; mouth relatively small, with small conical pointed teeth in a single row in jaws, anterior pair in each jaw enlarged and outwardly curved; prominent canines absent from rear of jaw.
Scales very small, cycloid, firmly attached, covering body but not head, body scales not extending onto base of dorsal and anal fin; lateral line bent abruptly downwards beneath soft dorsal fin.
Dorsal fin continuous, with elongate base and uniform height; anal fin similar to and opposite rear half of dorsal fin; caudal fin truncate. Pectoral fins moderately long, upper rays longest. Pelvic fins moderately long, arising beneath pectoral fin bases, reaching to or near anus.

Colour

The Western King Wrasse changes sex from female to male during its lifecycle and undergoes corresponding marked colour changes.
Juveniles are dark reddish to black with a narrow white mid-dorsal stripe from the snout to the tail, and a broader white mid-lateral stripe; ventral surface whitish. Adult females are pale greenish-white with a reddish-brown band tapering from the snout through the eye along the body just above lateral line. Adult males are salmon pink, top of head pale bluish, chin and throat whitish, and a bluish-black mark on the rear edge of the operculum; thoracic area yellowish followed by a broad white vertical band; a diffuse dusky or pale stripe from mid-body to the caudal-fin base.

Feeding

Forages in groups over sandy areas very close to reefs. Feeds mostly on small crustaceans such as amphipods and isopods, gastropod molluscs and to a lesser extent on larger crustaceans such as brachyuran crabs. Also consumes a range of other benthic invertebrates including marine worms and bivalve molluscs. 
Juveniles and small adult females may act as 'cleaner fishes' and congregate at 'cleaner stations', removing skin parasites from other fish species. 

Biology

This species is a protogynous hermaphrodite and changes sex from female to male during its life cycle, accompanied by dramatic colour changes. Adult males are territorial and control harems comprised of many juveniles and adult females. Spawning occurs during late summer and autumn.

Etymology

The specific name auricularis is from the Latin auricula (= ear) in reference to the blue mark on the rear of the gill cover of large males.

Species Citation

Julis auricularis Valenciennes, 1839, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 13: 489. Type locality: King George Sound, Western Australia.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2020

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

Western King Wrasse, Coris auricularis (Valenciennes 1839)

References


Choat, J.H. 2010. Coris auricularis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187764A8624954. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T187764A8624954.en. Downloaded on 13 August 2020.

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2, 624 pp.

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.

Harvey, E.S., Butler, J.J., McLean, D.L. & Shand, J. 2012. Contrasting habitat use of diurnal and nocturnal fish assemblages in temperate Western Australia. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 426–427: 78-86. ISSN 0022-0981, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2012.05.019.

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.

Hutchins, J.B. 1990. Fish survey of South Passage, Shark Bay, Western Australia. pp. 263-278 in Berry, P.F., Bradshaw, S.D. & Wilson, B.R. (eds). Research in Shark Bay: Report of the France-Australe Bicentenary Expedition Committee. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6 

Hutchins, J.B. 1997. Checklist of fishes of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. pp. 239-253 in Wells, F. (ed.) The Marine Fauna and Flora of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270 

Hutchins, J.B. 2005. Checklist of marine fishes of Recherche Archipelago and adjacent mainland waters. pp. 425-449 in Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I. & Kendrick, G.A. (eds). Proceedings of the Twelfth International Marine Biological Workshop: The Marine Flora and Fauna of Esperance, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

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

Langlois, T.J., Radford, B.T., Van Niel, K.P., Meeuwig, J.J., Pearce, A.F., Rousseaux, C.S.G., Kendrick, G.A. & Harvey, E.S. 2012. Consistent abundance distributions of marine fishes in an old, climatically buffered, infertile seascape. Global Ecology and Biogeography 21: 886–897. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2011.00734.x

Lek, E. 2011. Comparisons between the biological characteristics of three co-occurring and reef-dwelling labrid species at two different latitudes. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

Lek, E., Fairclough, D.V., Hall, N.G., Hesp, S.A. & Potter, I.C. 2012. Do the maximum sizes, ages and patterns of growth of three reef-dwelling labrid species at two latitudes differ in a manner conforming to the metabolic theory of ecology? Journal of Fish Biology 81: 1936–1962. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2012.03446.x

Lek, E., Fairclough, D.V., Platell, M.E., Clarke, K.R., Tweedley, J.R. & Potter, I.C. 2011. To what extent are the dietary compositions of three abundant, co-occurring labrid species different and related to latitude, habitat, body size and season? Journal of Fish Biology 78: 1913–1943. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2011.02961.x

Parker, J.R.C., Saunders, B.J., Bennett, S., DiBattista, J.D., Shalders, T.C. & Harvey, E.S. 2019. Shifts in Labridae geographical distribution along a unique and dynamic coastline. Diversity and Distributions 250: 1787– 1799. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12980

Randall, J.E. 1999. Revision of the Indo-Pacific labrid fishes of the genus Coris, with descriptions of five new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 29: 1-74 pls 1-7 pls 1-22

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.

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1839. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 13 505 pp. pls 369-388. See ref at BHL

Watson, D.L., Harvey, E.S., Kendrick, G.A., Nardi, K. & Anderson, M.J. 2007. Protection from fishing alters the species composition of fish assemblages in a temperate-tropical transition zone. Marine Biology 152(5): 1197-1206.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37384088

Biology:Hermaphrodite

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-45 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:40 cm TL

Native:Endemic

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