Dusky Wrasse, Halichoeres marginatus Rüppell 1835

Other Names: Dusky-wrasse, Speckled Rainbowfish, Splendid Rainbow Wrasse

A male Dusky Wrasse, Halichoeres marginatus, on Flynn Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef Life Survey. License: CC By Attribution

Males are greenish to brownish with narrow blue stripes or rows of blue spots along the sides, a broad yellow margin and blue submarginal spots on the pectoral fin, and a greenish crescent-shaped band on the tail base.
Females are brown with darker narrow stripes along the sides, a black ocellus on the middle of the dorsal fin and a greenish margin on the caudal fin. Juveniles are blackish to dark brown with narrow white stripes along the sides, a bluish to black ocellus on the middle of the dorsal fin, and white blotches on the back.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Halichoeres marginatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Dec 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2291

Dusky Wrasse, Halichoeres marginatus Rüppell 1835

More Info


Shark Bay (juveniles further south) to the Kimberley and offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Ashmore and Cartier reefs, Timor Sea, and the Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea, Queensland, with juveniles to Sydney, New South Wales; also  Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, and Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea.
Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific from the Red Sea and east Africa to Hawaii and the Tuamoto Islands, including southern Japan and the Austral Islands.


Kuiter (2010) considers that the Dusky wrasse Halichoeres marginatus (as Platyglossus marginatus) is restricted to the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean species is P. lamarii, also suggesting that the Pacific populations are P. annularis. Although the molecular study of Barber and Bellwood (2005) showed that there is an Indian Ocean clade and a Pacific Ocean clade, they did not include samples from the Red Sea.

Species Citation

Halichoeres marginatus Rüppell, 1835, Fische des Rothen Meeres 1: 16. Type locality: Massawa, Red Sea.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Dusky Wrasse, Halichoeres marginatus Rüppell 1835


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Shibuno, T., Gushima, K. &  Kakuda, S. 1993. Female spawning migrations of the protogynous wrasse, Halichoeres marginatus. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 39(4): 357-362.

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384114


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-30 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:18 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map