Bubblefin Wrasse, Halichoeres nigrescens (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

Other Names: Diamond Wrasse, Dusky Rainbow-fish, Dussumier's Wrasse, Greenback Wrasse, Kner's Wrasse, White-button Wrasse

A Bubblefin Wrasse, Halichoeres nigrescens, at Enderby Island, Dampier Marine Park, Western Australia. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

A pale greenish wrasse becoming whitish below with interconnected reddish-brown bars along the sides, pinkish to lavender bands on the head, and an indistinct spot on the spinous dorsal fin.
Females are greenish-brown above with a broad mid-lateral stripe from the snout to the tail base, a series of small pale spots along the midside, and an ocellus on the spinous dorsal fin. Both sexes have a small black spot on the upper part of the pectoral-fin base.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Halichoeres nigrescens in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Oct 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/238

Bubblefin Wrasse, Halichoeres nigrescens (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

More Info


Dampier Archipelago, and offshore reefs of north Western Australia, to Hervey Bay, Queensland and reefs in the Coral Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific.
Usually inhabits shallow rubble and algal-covered reefs with little coral growth.


Dorsal fin IX, 12; Anal fin III, 11-12; Pectoral fin 14-15; Lateral-line scales 27; Gill rakers 18-22.
Body depth 2.9-3.6 in SL.


A protogynous hermaphrodite, changing sex from female to male.

Species Citation

Labrus nigrescens Bloch & Schneider 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae: 263, no type locality.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Bubblefin Wrasse, Halichoeres nigrescens (Bloch & Schneider 1801)


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

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

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Bleeker, P. 1862. Synonyma Labroideorum Indo-archipelagicorum hucusque observatorum revisa, adjectis specierum novarum descriptionibus. Verslagen en Mededeelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen (Afdeeling Natuurjunde). Amsterdam 13: 274-308 

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

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 (as Platyglossus amabilis

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. 2003. Checklist of marine fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. pp. 453-478 in Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I., & Jones, D.S. (eds). Proceedings of the Eleventh International Marine Biological Workshop: The Marine Flora and Fauna of Dampier, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

Johnson, J.W. & Gill, A.C. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria. Gulf of Carpentaria Scientific Study Report. Geography Monograph Series. Brisbane: Royal Geographic Society of Queensland. pp. 239-260 

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. (as Hemiulis nigrescens)

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. 

Macleay, W.J. 1878. The fishes of Port Darwin. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 2(4): 344-367 pls 7-10 (as Platyglossus immaculatus)

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

Moore, G.I., Morrison, S.M., Hutchins, B.J., Allen, G.R. & Sampey, A. 2014. Kimberley marine biota. Historical data: fishes. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 84: 161-206 

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.

Shea, S., Liu, M. & Sadovy, Y. 2010. Halichoeres nigrescens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187600A8578241. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T187600A8578241.en. Downloaded on 23 August 2018.

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1839. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 13 505 pp. pls 369-388. 

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. 

Whitley, G.P. 1931. Studies in Ichthyology No. 4. Records of the Australian Museum 18(3): 96-133 figs 1-2 pls 11-16 (as Halinanodes leucostigma)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384037


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-10 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated, rubble and weed areas

Max Size:14 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map