Zebra Wrasse, Pseudocoris heteroptera (Bleeker 1857)

Other Names: Torpedo Wrasse

A terminal male Zebra Wrasse, Pseudocoris heteroptera, from the Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Fenton Walsh / Cairns Marine. License: All rights reserved

The striking males are a deep torquoise with a broad black irregular stripe behind the eye, alternating light and dark bands on the rear of the body, and dark outer caudal-fin rays making the tail appear deeply forked. Females are greenish to bluish-grey with a black spot above the pectoral-fin base. Juveniles are white with a black stripe along the back and a broad black midlateral stripe.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Pseudocoris heteroptera in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Dec 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/268

Zebra Wrasse, Pseudocoris heteroptera (Bleeker 1857)

More Info


Recorded in the Australian EEZ from Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, Ribbons Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and reefs in the Coral Sea. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the west Pacific, from the Line Islands to Indonesia, north to Taiwan and southern Japan, and south to the Great Barrier Reef. 
Inhabits outer reef crests, feeding on plankton over mixed sandy, rubble and coral bottoms, often in areas with strong currents.


Feeds on zooplankton in the water column.


Occurs in haremic groups with several females and a dominant male nearby. 

Species Citation

Julis (Halichoeres) heteropterus Bleeker, 1857, Acta Societ. Scient. Indo-Neerland. 2: 78. Type locality: Ambon Island, Moluccas Islands, Indonesia.


Dianne J. Bray

Zebra Wrasse, Pseudocoris heteroptera (Bleeker 1857)


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

Bleeker, P. 1857. Achtste bijdrage tot de kennis der vischfauna van Amboina. Acta Societatis Scientiarum Indo-Neerlandicae 2: 1-102.

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

Lieske, E & Myers, R.F. 1994. Collins Pocket Guide. Coral reef fishes. Indo-Pacific and Caribbean including the Red Sea. Harper Collins Publishers, New York, USA.

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian reef fishes. A comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia. Coral Graphics, Barrigada, Guam.

Randall, J.E. & Walsh, F. 2008. A pictorial view of the Indo-Pacific labrid fish genus Pseudocoris, with description of a new species from the Coral Sea. aqua: International Journal of Ichthyology 14(2): 45-58.

Randall, J.E., Connell, A.D. & Victor, B.C. 2015. Review of the labrid fishes of the Indo-Pacific genus Pseudocoris, with a description of two new species. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 16: 1-55. PDF Open access

Sadovy, Y. & Rocha, L.A. 2010. 
Pseudocoris heteroptera. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. . Downloaded on 25 May 2014.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384197

Biology:Capable of changing sex

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-54 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:20 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map