Comb Wrasse, Coris picta (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

Other Names: Australian Comb Wrasse, Bananafish, Combfish, Comb-fish

A Comb Wrasse, Coris picta, at North Solitary Island, New South Wales. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC By Attribution

Adults are whitish with a prominent wavy or comb-like black stripe from the snout through the eye to the tail tip, and a yellow tail. 
Comb Wrasse inhabit coastal and offshore reefs in eastern Australia from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria, islands, reefs in the Tasman Sea, and also occur off northern New Zealand.

Great video of a Comb Wrasse, Coris picta, at North Bondi, Sydney, Australia - by Thierry Rakotoarivelo.
Video of a Comb Wrasse in the Dallas Aquarium.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Coris picta in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

Comb Wrasse, Coris picta (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

More Info


North of Hervey Bay (and possibly north to Mackay), Queensland, to Lakes Entrance, Victoria; also Elizabeth & Middleton Reefs, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the southern Coral Sea (Chesterfield Reefs off New Caledonia) and the Kermadec Islands, New Zealand.Inhabits sandy and seagrass areas adjacent to reefs. The species is common in the lagoon and on outer reefs at Lord Howe Island.









Similar Species


Species Citation

Labrus pictus Bloch & Schneider, 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum: 251. Type locality: New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Comb Wrasse, Coris picta (Bloch & Schneider 1801)


Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2

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

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.

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

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Francis, M.P. 1996. Geographic distribution of marine reef fishes in the New Zealand region. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Resources 30: 35-55.

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93, 193-228 in Hutchings, P. (ed.) Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp.

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

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

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

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

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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 & Rainbow Wrasses and their Relatives. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 207 pp.

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

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.

Patterson, H.M. & Swearer, S.E. 2007. Long‐distance dispersal and local retention of larvae as mechanisms of recruitment in an island population of a coral reef fish. Austral Ecology 32(2): 122-130. DOI: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2006.01669.x

Pollard, D., Choat, J.H., Russell, B. & Myers, R. 2010. Coris picta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187679A8598594. Downloaded on 04 December 2019.

Ramsay, E.P. 1883. Description of a new species of Coris from Lord Howes' Island and New South Wales. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 7(2): 301-302. (described as Coris semicincta)

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

Russell, B.C. 2015. Tribe Julidini and Tribe Pseudolabrini. pp. 1374-1403 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748.

Whitley, G.P. 1931. New names for Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 6(4): 310-334 1 fig. pls 25-27 (as Ctenocorissa picta)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384095

Behaviour:Juveniles - cleaner fish

Biology:Hermaphrodite - changes sex

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-83 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:25 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map