Blackspotted Wrasse, Austrolabrus maculatus (Macleay 1881)

Other Names: Black-spotted Parrot Fish, Blackspotted Parrotfish, Black-spotted Parrotfish, Black-spotted Wrasse

A female Black-spotted Wrasse, Austrolabrus maculatus, at North Rock, Northern New South Wales, September 2012. Source: Ian Shaw / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A reddish-brown wrasse becoming whitish below, with black spots on the back and upper sides. Juveniles and females have a white bar on the tail base, and a white-edged black spot below the rear of the dorsal fin. Adult males (terminal phase) lack the black blotch and have reddish-brown lines on the head, and a series of narrow concentric blue lines on the tail.

The species is absent from Tasmania and only occurs in eastern Victoria.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Austrolabrus maculatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Blackspotted Wrasse, Austrolabrus maculatus (Macleay 1881)

More Info


Endemic to the southern half of Australia, from about Fraser Island, Queensland to about Cape Conran, Victoria, and from Victor Harbor, South Australia, to Shark Bay, Western Australia. 

Often inhabits deeper more exposed reefs, among red algae, turfs, ledges and sponge areas, usually in depths below 10 m. The species commonly occurs at shallower depths in Western Australia, but is usually seen in deeper waters on the east coast.


Dorsal fin IX, 11; Anal fin III, 10; Caudal fin 12; Pectoral fin 13; Pelvic fin  I, 5; Lateral line scales 25.

Body moderately deep (26-35% SL), compressed. Head moderately large (30-37%); dorsal profile convex; eyes moderately large (20-32% HL), mouth small, upper jaw not reaching as far as eye; teeth small, caniniform, anterior pair in both jaws enlarged, recurved; each side of upper jaw with enlarged curved canine at rear.

Scales moderately large, cycloid; firmly attached, covering body; head naked except for two or three rows of cheek scales and 15-16 large scales on opercle; lateral‑line abruptly curved downwards beneath last spines of 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 short, rounded.  Pelvic fins short, arising beneath pectoral‑fin bases, not reaching near anus.




Protogynous hermaphrodite, with individuals maturing as females, before changing sex to male during their life cycle.



  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern
  • Remarks

    Similar Species


    The specific name maculatus is from the Latin macula, meaning 'spot', in reference to the dark spot on the rear of the body.

    Species Citation

    Labrichthys maculata Macleay, 1881, Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. 1 6(1): 89. Type locality: King George Sound, Western Australia.


    Bray, D.J. 2018


    Australian Faunal Directory

    Blackspotted Wrasse, Austrolabrus maculatus (Macleay 1881)


    Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. 544 pp.

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

    Hanel, R., Westneat, M.W., & Sturmbauer, C. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships, evolution of broodcare behavior, and geographic speciation in the wrasse Tribe Labrini. Journal of Molecular Evolution 55: 776-789

    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, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. 180 pp.

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

    Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. 433 pp.

    Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. 437 pp.

    Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Fairy and Rainbow Wrasses and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Selected Labroids. TMC Publishing. 208pp.

    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.

    Mabuchi, K., Nakabo, T. & Nishida, M. 2004. Molecular phylogeny of the antitropical genus Pseudolabrus (Perciformes: Labridae): evidence for a Southern Hemisphere origin. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 32: 375-382.

    Pollard, J. (ed.) 1980. G.P. Whitley's Handbook of Australian Fishes. North Sydney : Jack Pollard Publishing Pty Ltd 629 pp.

    Russell, B.C. 1988. Revision of the labrid fish genus Pseudolabrus and allied genera. Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 9: 1-72. PDF Open access

    Russell, B. 2010. Austrolabrus maculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187491A8550271. Downloaded on 17 February 2017.

    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.

    Steindachner, F. 1884. Ichthyologische Beiträge (13)1. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Fische Australiens. Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien 88(1): 1065-1108, figs 1-8

    Thomson, J.M. 1978. A Field Guide to the Common Sea & Estuary Fishes of Non-tropical Australia. Sydney : Collins 144 pp.

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37384025


    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Depth:1-40 m

    Habitat:Reef associated

    Max Size:13 cm SL


    Species Maps

    CAAB distribution map