Crimsonband Wrasse, Notolabrus gymnogenis (Günther 1862)

Other Names: Crimson-banded Parrot-fish, Crimson-banded Wrasse, Spotted Rainbowfish, White-spotted Rainbow-fish

A male Crimsonband Wrasse, Notolabrus gymnogenis, at South Solitary Island, New South Wales. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution


This large brightly-coloured wrasse is common amongst kelp on rocky reefs on New South Wales. Like many other wrasses, the Crimsonband Wrasse is variable in colour and changes sex from female to male during its life.

Juveniles are greenish brown with rows of white spots along the sides. Females are reddish to brownish-orange with rows of white spots along the sides. Males are strikingly coloured with red dorsal and anal fins, a red band around the rear of the body, a white caudal peduncle and a yellow caudal fin.

Video of a male Crimsonband Wrasse at Shelly Beach (Manly), New South Wales.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Notolabrus gymnogenis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Sep 2023,

Crimsonband Wrasse, Notolabrus gymnogenis (Günther 1862)

More Info


Endemic to subtropical and temperate waters of eastern Australia, from Hervey Bay, Queensland to Lakes Entrance, Victoria, the Kent Group, Tasmania and also at Lord Howe Island.

The Crimsonband Wrasse is common on exposed and moderately exposed kelp-covered reefs in New South Wales, in depths of 5-40 m


Carnivore - feeds mostly on benthic invertebrates. Juveniles mostly consume amphipods, whereas larger fish prey on decapod crustaceans, and gastropod and bivalve molluscs.


A protogynous hermaphrodite - individuals change sex from female to male at about 5 years and a length of about 260-280 mm TL. Spawning occurs from April to October, and the eggs and larvae are pelagic.


Fished on a small scale commercially and recreationally.


  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern
  • Remarks

    Adult males are highly territorial, and may defend their reef from other males for more than two years. They live in a harem, sharing their territory with up to 10 juvenile and female individuals.


    The species name gymnogenis is from the Greek gymnos meaning 'bare' and genys meaning 'cheek', in reference to the fact that the cheeks are almost naked, having only a single row of scales.

    Species Citation

    Labrichthys gymnogenis Günther, 1862, Cat. Fishes Brit. Mus.4: 117, 507; type locality - Sydney.


    Dianne J. Bray


    Crimsonband Wrasse, Notolabrus gymnogenis (Günther 1862)


    Allen, G.R., N.J. Cross, C.J. Allen & M.F. Gomon 2006. Labridae: Labrinae. pp. 1368-1418 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp.

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

    Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2

    Günther, A. 1862. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the Acanthopterygii Pharyngognathi and Anacanthini in the collection of the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 4 534 pp.

    Henry, G.W., and Lyle, J.M. 2003. The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey. NSW Fisheries Final Report Series: 48. Fisheries Research & Development Corporation and the Fisheries Action Program, Canberra, Australia.

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

    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 I-xvii, 434 pp.

    Macleay, W.J. 1878. Descriptions of some new fishes from Port Jackson and King George's Sound. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 3(1): 33-37 pls 2-5 [as Labrichthys nigromarginatus]

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

    McPherson, G.R. 1977. Sex change in the wrasse Pseudolabrus gymnogenis (Labridae). Australian Zoologist 19: 185-200.

    Morton, J.K., Gladstone, W. Hughes, J.M. & Stewart, J. 2008. Comparison of the life histories of three co-occurring wrasses (Teleostei: Labridae) in coastal waters of south-eastern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 59(7): 560-574.

    Morton, J.K., Platell, M.E. & Gladstone, W. 2008. Differences in feeding ecology among three co-occurring species of wrasse (Teleostei: Labridae) on rocky reefs of temperate Australia. Marine Biology 154: 577–592.

    Roughley, T.C. 1957. Fish and Fisheries of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 341 pp.

    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. 2010. Notolabrus gymnogenis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 November 2012.

    Thomson, J.M. 1978. A Field Guide to the Common Sea & Estuary Fishes of Non-tropical Australia. Sydney : Collins 144 pp.

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37384041

    Biology:Able to change sex

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Depth:5-40 m

    Habitat:Reef associated

    Max Size:50 cm TL


    Species Maps

    CAAB distribution map