Eclipse Pigfish, Bodianus mesothorax (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

Other Names: Blackbelt Hogfish, Black-belt Hogfish, Coral Hogfish, Eclipse Hogfish, Eclipse Pig-fish, Mesothorax Hogfish, Splitlevel Hogfish, Split-level Hogfish, Yellow-spotted Hogfish

Bodianus mesothorax at Milne Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

A relatively small pigfish or hogfish with a well-defined blackish diagonal band between the purplish anterior body and the whitish to yellowish rear part. 
Juveniles are deep purple with two rows of bright yellow spots. They resemble juvenile Coral Pigfish, Bodianus axillaris, which have white spots.
Video of an Eclipse Pigfish in an aquarium.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Bodianus mesothorax in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Apr 2024,

Eclipse Pigfish, Bodianus mesothorax (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

More Info


Found in the east-Indo-west-Pacific. Recorded in Australia from Scott Reef, WA (14°03'S), Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea (12°15'S), and the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, with juveniles as far south as Sydney, New South Wales; also at Lord Howe Island and Elizabeth Reef in the Tasman Sea, and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.
Inhabits coral-rich outer reef slopes near caves and ledges.


At about 5-6 cm in length, juveniles apparently rapidly develop the adult colour pattern over a few weeks.

Similar Species

Differs from Bodianus axillaris in having a broad dark band between the light and dark areas of the body, and in lacking the black spots on the rear of the dorsal and anal fins.


The specific name mesothorax is from the Greek mesos meaning 'middle', and the noun 'thorax' or breast plate, in reference to the prominent diagonal black band on the body of adults.

Species Citation

Labrus mesothorax Bloch & Schneider, 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae: 254. Type locality: East Indies.


Dianne J. Bray

Eclipse Pigfish, Bodianus mesothorax (Bloch & Schneider 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. & Steene, R.C. 1979. The Fishes of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Aust. Natl. Parks Wldlf. Ser. Spec. Publ. 2. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service 81 pp. 15 pls.

Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G. 1801. Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum. Berlin 584 pp. 110 pls.

Choat, J.H., van Herwerden, L., Robbins, W.D., Hobbs, J.P. & Ayling, A.M. 2006. A report on the ecological surveys undertaken at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, February 2006. Report by James Cook University to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 65 pp.

Clark, D.L., Leis, J.M., Hay, A.C. & Trnski, T. 2005. Swimming ontogeny of larvae of four temperate marine fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 292: 287-300.

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.

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.

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls.

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. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls.

Oxley, W.G., Ayling, A.M., Cheal, A.J. & Osborne, K. 2004. Marine surveys undertaken in the Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Marine National Nature Reserve, December 2003. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Sciences 64 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Russell, B. 2010. Bodianus mesothorax. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. . Downloaded on 24 May 2014.

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:37384060

Biology:Capable of changing sex

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:4-40 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:20 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map