Snakeskin Wrasse, Eupetrichthys angustipes Ramsay & Ogilby 1888

Other Names: Slender Parrotfish, Slender Wrasse, Snake-skin Wrasse

A Snakeskin Wrasse, Eupetrichthys angustipes, at North West Solitary Island, New South Wales, May 2013. Source: Ian Shaw / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A small slender wrasse with a variable colour pattern - body greyish, maroon, brownish to dark green above, abruptly pale below with 5 dark broad angled bands on the sides, and irregular dark spots on the head.

Snakeskin wrasses swim in short bursts close to the bottom, head up with a bobbing motion. When resting, they often lie in a curled position, or on their sides, lifting their heads off the bottom.

A Snakeskin Wrasse, Eupetrichthys angustipes, on Gretas Reef, off Southport Seaway, Queensland - depth 20 m.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Eupetrichthys angustipes in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Apr 2024,

Snakeskin Wrasse, Eupetrichthys angustipes Ramsay & Ogilby 1888

More Info


Endemic to southern Australia, from northern New South Wales to the Houtman Abrolhos islands, Western Australia, including northern Tasmania. 

The Snakeskin Wrasse is a common and widespread inhabitant of sheltered sandy areas near reefs and boulders on the east coast, on algal-covered reefs on the west coast, in depths of 1-40 m. It is rare in the Bass Strait region.


Dorsal fin IX, 12; Anal fin III, 10; Pectoral fin 13; Pelvic fin I, 5; Caudal fin 12; Lateral line scales 25

Body depth 20–22% SL; head length 24–28% SL; eye diameter 20–25% HL.


To 20 cm


Grey or brown to dark green, white or yellow below with 5 broad, black, slanting bars on back, becoming brown or mauve below lateral midline, interspaces pale; head yellowish-brown, paler below, with many black or brown markings; black spot between the first 2–3 dorsal-fin spines; dorsal and anal fins brown or yellow basally, outer half with narrow transverse blue bands; caudal fin with 6–10 narrow brown bands; ventral fins yellow or white, reddish-brown near base; pectoral fins clear. Courting males have more intense coloration.




Of no interest to fisheries.


IUCN Red List: Least Concern.


The Snakeskin Wrasse has a peculiar habit of lying on its side on the bottom in a curled position with the head turned upward, or swimming in an almost vertical position with the tail near the bottom.


The specific name angustipes is from the Latin angustus, meaning 'slender', and stipes, meaning 'trunk', in reference to the elongate body of this species. 

Species Citation

Eupetrichthys angustipes Ramsay & Ogilby, 1888, Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. 2: 631. Type locality: Port Jackson, N.S.W.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Snakeskin Wrasse, Eupetrichthys angustipes Ramsay & Ogilby 1888


Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books.  544 pp.

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.

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

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1997. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers pp. I-xvii + 1-434.

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen.  437 p.

Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Fairy and rainbow wrasses and their relatives – a comprehensive guide to selected labrids. TMC Publishing, Chorleywood, UK.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

Ramsay, E.P. & J.D. Ogilby. 1888. On a new genus and species of labroid fish from Port Jackson. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales (2)2(4): 631-634.

Russell, B.C. 1988. Revision of the labrid fish genus Pseudolabrus and allied genera. Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 9: 1-72. PDF Open access

Russell, B., Choat, J.H. & Pollard, D. 2010. Eupetrichthys angustipes. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. . Downloaded on 06 September 2013.

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:37384105


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:20 cm TL


Species Maps

CAAB distribution map