Variegated Wrasse, Coris batuensis (Bleeker 1857)

Other Names: Batu Coris, Batu Rainbow-wrasse, Dapple Coris, Pallid Wrasse, Schroeder's Coris, Schroeder's Rainbow Wrasse, Variegated Rainbowfish, Yellow Wrasse

A Variegated Wrasse, Coris batuensis, at Bitung, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: Cc BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0


A coral reef inhabitant, found on sandy-rubble bottoms in clear lagoon and seaward reefs.

Identifying features:
Body overall pale greenish to whitish with several dark bars on upper sides;
A black ocellus in middle of dorsal fin (lost in large males) and a black marking at pectoral-fin base;
Juveniles greenish (whitish anteriorly) with pink to reddish spots and several ocelli on dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Coris batuensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Nov 2022,

Variegated Wrasse, Coris batuensis (Bleeker 1857)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from islands off north Western Australia (Scott Reef and Ashmore Reef), and from the Murray islands north of Cape York to Sydney, New South Wales. Also at Elizabeth and Middleton reefs in the Tasman Sea.

Elsewhere, common and widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, to southern Japan, Tonga and Pohnpei. 

Inhabits sandy and coral rubble areas on coastal and offshore reefs - usually in lagoons and on seaward reefs to 34 metres. individuals are either solitary or seen in small groups.


Meristic features:
Dorsal-fin spines/rays: IX, 11
Anal-fin spines/rays: III, 11
Pectoral-fin rays: 13-15
Pelvic-fin spines/rays: I, 5
Lateral-line scales: 52-55
Gill rakers (first arch): 16-21


Very pale in colour when seen on sandy bottoms.


Carnivore - feeds on crabs and gastropod molluscs.


  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern
  • Remarks

    Has been misidentified in the past as Coris variegata, which only occurs in the Red Sea.


    The species is named batuensis after the type locality, Batu Island in Indonesia.

    Species Citation

    Julis (Halichoeres) batuensis Bleeker, 1857, Natuur. Tijdschr. Neder. Indië 12: 240. Type locality: Batu Islands, Indonesia.


    Dianne J. Bray


    Variegated Wrasse, Coris batuensis (Bleeker 1857)


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

    Allen, G.R., N.J. Cross, C.J. Allen & M.F. Gomon. 2006. Labridae: Labrinae. pp. 1368-1418 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp.

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

    Bleeker, P. 1857. Derde Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van de Batoe-eilanden. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 12: 229-242.

    Brothers, E.B., D.McB. Williams & P.F. Sale. 1983. Length of larval life in twelve families of fishes at 'One Tree Lagoon', Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Mar. Biol. 76: 319-324. (as Coris variegata)

    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.

     Craig, M. & Yeeting, B. 2010. Coris batuensis. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. . Downloaded on 13 August 2012.

    De Vis, C.W. 1885. New fishes in the Queensland Museum. No. 5. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 9(4): 869-887.

    Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp.

    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. 2001. Checklist of the fishes of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 63: 9-50.

    Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762.

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

    Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Fairy & Rainbow Wrasses and their Relatives. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 207 pp. (as Coris schroederii)

    Kuiter, R.H. & T. Tonozuka. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 2. Fusiliers - Dragonets, Caesionidae - Callionymidae. Zoonetics, Australia. 304-622 p.

    Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 3. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 6(1): 1-138 pls 1-2.

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

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    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.

    Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 720 p.

    Randall, J.E. 2013. Seven new species of labrid fishes (Coris, Iniistius, Macropharyngodon, Novaculops, and Pteragogus) from the Western Indian Ocean. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 7: 1-43. PDF

    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.

    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:37384098

    Biology:Changes sex

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Depth:1-34 m

    Habitat:Reef associated

    Max Size:17 cm TL

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    Species Maps

    CAAB distribution map