Golden Wrasse, Halichoeres chrysus Randall 1981

Other Names: Yellow Wrasse

A Golden Wrasse, Halichoeres chrysus, at South Solitary Island, December 2013. Source: ralfmagee / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A bright yellow wrasse with a yellowish-orange head and thorax, irregular pale green bands on the head, and a spot behind the eye. Males have a large ocellus between the first and second dorsal-fin spines, and often another spot on the soft portion between 2nd and 3rd fin-rays of smaller males. Females have a second black ocellus outlined in yellow on the middle of the dorsal fin, and smaller females and juveniles have a third blackish spot on the rear of the dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Halichoeres chrysus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Sep 2023,

Golden Wrasse, Halichoeres chrysus Randall 1981

More Info


Offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Cartier reef in the Timor Sea, and the far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland and reefs in the Coral Sea, to Montague Island, New South Wales; also Christmas Island in the Eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, east-Indo-west Pacific.
typically inhabits small isolated coral heads on sand, or sand and rubble bottoms.


Dorsal fin IX, 12; anal fin III, 11-12; Vertebrae 25.
Anterior lateral line scales with 2-4 pores; 6-12 suborbital pores. Pelvic fins not reaching anus.


The specific name chrysus is from the Greek for "golden," in reference to the bright yellow colour of both males and females of the species.

Species Citation

Halichoeres chrysus Randall 1981, Pacific Science 34(4): 416, figs 1-2. Type locality: Sandfly Passage, Florida Island, Solomon Islands, 7 m. 


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Golden Wrasse, Halichoeres chrysus Randall 1981


Allen, G.R. 1993. Fishes of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 44: 67-91 

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. & Russell, B.C. 1986. Part VII Fishes. pp. 79-103 in Berry, P.F. (ed.). Faunal Surveys of the Rowley Shoals, Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef, northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 25: 1-106 

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.

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Barber, P.H. & Bellwood, D.R. 2005. Biodiversity hotspots: evolutionary origins of biodiversity in wrasses (Halichoeres: Labridae) in the Indo-Pacific and new world tropics. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 35: 235-253

Choat, J.H. & Yeeting, B. 2010. Halichoeres chrysus . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187624A8583725. Downloaded on 03 March 2020.

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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 

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) 

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. 

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

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Moore, G. & Morrison, S. 2009. Fishes of three North West Shelf atolls off Western Australia: Mermaid (Rowley Shoals), Scott and Seringapatam Reefs. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 77: 221-255 

Randall, J.E. 1981. Two new Indo-Pacific labrid fishes of the genus Halichoeres with notes on other species of the genus. Pacific Science 34(4): 415-432 figs 1-16, open access

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 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.

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:37384110


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:7-40 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:8 cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map