Western Pigfish, Bodianus vulpinus (Richardson 1850)

Other Names: Blackspot Pigfish, Black-spot Pigfish, Vulpine Pigfish, Western Blackspot Pigfish

Western Pigfish, Bodianus vulpinus. Source: Barry Hutchins / Western Australian Museum. License: All rights reserved


Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018, Bodianus vulpinus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/218

Western Pigfish, Bodianus vulpinus (Richardson 1850)

More Info


Occurs in sub-tropical and warm temperate waters off southwestern Australia from Ceduna, South Australia, to about Shark Bay, Western Australia. Inhabits sandy bottom areas with some rock and coral rubble, at depths to at least 250 m.


Dorsal-fin rays XII, 10; anal-fin rays III, 12; pectoral-fin rays ii, 15; lateral-line scales 30-31.

Head and snout of moderate length, slightly attenuate. Posterior corner of mouth slightly in advance of vertical through anterior extent of orbit.  Upper jaw with second prominent anterior canine about equal to first; 4-6 teeth on dental ridge posterior to anterior canines , originating close behind prominent canines; 1 or 2 large canines at posterior end of jaw.  Lower jaw with first prominent anterior canine smaller than second; teeth on dental ridge in 2 series forming single row; first series larger than second. Scaly basal sheath on dorsal and anal fins.  Posterior tips of dorsal and anal fins rounded to slightly pointed.  Caudal fin truncate in smaller individuals; dorsalmost and ventralmost caudal-fin rays becoming elongate and filamentous, forming distinct dorsal and ventral lobes in larger individuals.  Posterior tip of pelvic fin reaching anus.


Reaches 32 cm SL.


Initial-phase adults peach to pink above, white below, with red horizontal stripe directed posteriorly from eye fading near center of side; horizontally elongate red spot on upper portion of side below rear half of spinous portion of dorsal fin. Spinous portion of dorsal fin peach to pink, segmented portion yellowish tinged with red. Anal and caudal fins yellow. Pectoral and pelvic fins whitish. Large specimens with large black spot centrally on dorsal fin.

Terminal-phase adults red dorsally, white laterally and ventrally, head abruptly white below level of mouth; dorsal surface of head with two transverse yellow bands connecting eyes, first anteriorly across snout, second dorsally. Dorsal fin red anteriorly yellow on anterior half of soft rayed portion and transparent posteriorly; large black spot ocellated with blue between sixth to tenth dorsal-fin spines. Anal fin yellow with white basal margin. Caudal fin red, suffused with yellow especially on uppermost and lowermost segmented rays. Pectoral fin reddish dorsally with grey blotch at tip. Pelvic fin white with yellow leading edge.

Similar Species

The Bodianus vulpinus species complex comprises the western Australian B. vulpinus, the eastern Australian B. unimaculatus, the Japanese B. oxycephalus and the Hawaiian B. bathycapros with non-overlapping distributions. They are separable primarily on colouration.
In Australia, the Western Pigfish has been confused with both This species was previously confused with the Foxfish, Bodianus frenchii, and the Eastern Pigfish, B. unimaculatus


The name vulpinus is from the feminine Latin noun vulpes, "fox", and inus, "pertaining to", perhaps in reference to the elongate fox-like snout in this species.

Species Citation

Cossyphus vulpinus Richardson, 1850. Notices of Australian fish. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 18: 71.


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Western Pigfish, Bodianus vulpinus (Richardson 1850)


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

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. 

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp. 

Gomon, M.F. 2001. Descriptions of two new species of Bodianus (Perciformes: Labridae) from Australasian waters. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 28: 407-416

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.

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. 

Gomon, M.F. & Randall, J.E. 1978. Review of the Hawaiian fishes of the labrid tribe Bodianini. Bulletin of Marine Science 28(1): 32-48 figs 1-6 

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

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

Richardson, J. 1850. Notices of Australian fish. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 18: 58-77 figs 1-3 

Russell, B. 2010. Bodianus vulpinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187553A8566575. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T187553A8566575.en. Downloaded on 10 May 2018.

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384001

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:100-250 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:32 cm SL


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map