Luculent Wrasse, Pseudolabrus luculentus (Richardson 1848)

Other Names: Luculentus Wrasse, Orange Wrasse

A male (terminal phase) Luculent Wrasse, Pseudolabrus luculentus, at Elbow Cave, North Solitary Island, New South Wales. Source: Richard Ling. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


Like other wrasses, the Luculent Wrasse is variable in colour depending on its life stage and sex. The species is common at Lord Howe Island.

Identifying features.
Females are orange with white horizontal stripes on the head below the eye, white spots or diagonal lines on scales on the lower half of the body, and yellow dorsal and anal fins
Males are reddish with black and white blotches along the dorsal-fin base.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Pseudolabrus luculentus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 05 Oct 2022,

Luculent Wrasse, Pseudolabrus luculentus (Richardson 1848)

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Known from the Southwest Pacific - eastern Australlia, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, and New Zealand, including the Kermadec Islands.

The Luculent Wrasse inhabits coastal and offshore reefs and islands in depths of 8 to at least 50 m. The species is very common at Lord Howe Island.


 Carnivore - feeds on benthic invertebrates such as crabs and other small crustaceans.


The species is a protogynous hermaphrodite with females changing sex into males. In New Zealand, individuals mature after one year and females spawn pelagic eggs from March to October.


Juveniles are known to clean parasites from other fishes.

Similar Species

Juvenile Luculent Wrasse are somewhat similar to Gunter's Wrasse, Pseudolabrus guentheriwhich lacks the black markings on the upper rear of the body.


The specific name luculentus is from the Latin word for 'splendid', apparently in reference to the bright colours of this species. 


Dianne J. Bray

Luculent Wrasse, Pseudolabrus luculentus (Richardson 1848)


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.

Ayling, A.M. & Grace, R.V. 1971. Cleaning symbiosis among New Zealand fishes. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 5(2): 205-218.

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

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Richardson, J. 1848. Ichthyology. 75-139 pls 42-43 & 44 (parts), 45-52, 53 in Richardson, J. & Gray, J.E. (eds). The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, R.N., F.R.S., during the years 1839–43. London : Smith, Elder & Co. Vol. 2 139 pp.

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384151

Biology:Able to change sex

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:5-50 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:25 cm TL

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