Saddleback Pigfish, Bodianus bilunulatus (Lacépède 1801)

Other Names: Red-streaked Pigfish, Saddle-back Pigfish, Saddleback Wrasse, Tarry Hogfish

A Saddleback Pigfish, Bodianus bilunulatus, in the Murion Islands, Western Australia, April 2009. Source: eschlogl / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A large pinkish-red hogfish with a spot on the scales forming fine stripes along the upper head and back, a large black saddle the rear of the dorsal fin often with white blotches just below (saddle indistinct in large males). Juveniles are bright yellow on the upper head and back, reddish below, a broad black bar on the rear 2/3 of the body, and a white caudal peduncle.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Bodianus bilunulatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jul 2024,

Saddleback Pigfish, Bodianus bilunulatus (Lacépède 1801)

More Info


Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, to the Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory, and ENE of Cape Moreton, Queensland to the Solitary Islands, New South Wales; also at Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical Indo-west-central Pacific. 
Inhabits coral and rocky reefs, often on deep outer reef slopes rich with corals, sponges and seawhips.


Feeds mainly on hard-shelled benthic invertebrates including molluscs and crustaceans.


A protogynous hermaphrodite, changing sex from female to male during the life cycle.


The specific name bilunulatus is from the Latin bis (= twice) and lunula (luna + ulus) (= 'somewhat like the moon'), apparently in reference to the lunate caudal fin (double emarginate with filamentous lobes) of the type specimen. 

Species Citation

Labrus bilunulatus Lacépède, 1801, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons: 454, 526, pl. 31(2). Type locality: Indo-Pacific (as Great Equatorial Ocean).


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Saddleback Pigfish, Bodianus bilunulatus (Lacépède 1801)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

DeMartini, E.E., Friedlander, A.M. & Holzwarth, S.R. 2005. Size at sex change in protogynous labroids, prey body size distributions, and apex predator densities at NW Hawaiian atolls. Marine Ecology Progress Series 207: 259-271.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp.

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

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp.

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 Ecology and Evolution 55: 776-789.

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202

Hobbs, J.-P.A., Ayling, A.M., Choat, J.H., Gilligan, J.J., McDonald, C.A., Neilson, J. & Newman, S.J. 2010. New records of marine fishes illustrate the biogeographic importance of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 2422: 63–68

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.

Lacepède, B.G. 1801. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : chez Plassan Vol. 3 558 pp. 34 pls. See ref at BHL

Randall, J.E. 1986. Family No. 220: Labridae. pp. 683-706 in Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds). Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls.

Russell, B. 2010. Bodianus bilunulatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187554A8566714. Downloaded on 27 November 2019.

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:37384054


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:8-160 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational, aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:40+ cm SL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map