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


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:
Bray, D.J. 2024, Notolabrus gymnogenis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Crimsonband Wrasse, Notolabrus gymnogenis (Günther 1862)

More Info


Endemic to eastern Australia, from Hervey Bay, Queensland, to Lakes Entrance, Victoria, and the Kent Group, Bass Strait, Tasmania; also the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea.

Commonly inhabits exposed and moderately exposed kelp-covered reefs in New South Wales.


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 specific name gymnogenis is from the Greek gymnos (= bare) and genys (= 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, New South Wales.


    Bray, D.J. 2024


    Atlas of Living Australia

    Crimsonband Wrasse, Notolabrus gymnogenis (Günther 1862)


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

    Fetterplace, L.C., Turnbull, J.W., Knott, N. A. & Hardy, N.A. 2018. The devil in the deep: Expanding the known habitat of a rare and protected fish. European Journal of Ecology 4(1): 22-29.

    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. See ref at BHL

    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.

    Last, P.L., White, W.T., Gledhill, D.C.,  Hobday, A.J., et al. 2011. Long-term shifts in abundance and distribution of a temperate fish fauna: a response to climate change and fishing practices. Global Ecology and Biogeography 20: 58–72 

    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 [described as Labrichthys nigromarginatus, type locality Port Jackson, New South Wales]

    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.

    Russell, B. 2010. Notolabrus gymnogenis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T187633A8586162. Accessed on 12 February 2024.

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

    Waite, E.R. 1903. Additions to the fish-fauna of Lord Howe Island. No. 3. Records of the Australian Museum 5(1): 20-45 figs 1-2 pls 3-5

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37384041

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Depth:5-53 m

    Habitat:Reef associated

    Max Size:50 cm TL


    Species Maps

    CAAB distribution map