Wedgetail Tuskfish, Choerodon sugillatum Gomon 1987

Other Names: Wedge-tailed Tuskfish

A terminal phase (male) Wedgetail Tuskfish, Choerodon sugillatum, from Pollard Channel, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, CSIRO H.3897-04, 135 mm SL. Source: T. Carter / Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: All rights reserved


A small tuskfish with a prominent black and blue, slash-like mark on the upper side above and behind the pectoral-fin base in males. Females and juveniles also have an orange mid-lateral stripe, and the slash-like mark is smaller and more rounded. The upper corner of the pectoral fin is rather pointed, and the lower ray is elongated, giving hind margin of the fin a lunate appearance.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Choerodon sugillatum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2024,

Wedgetail Tuskfish, Choerodon sugillatum Gomon 1987

More Info


Endemic to northern Australia from the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia, to the southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. 
Inhabits flat sandy, seagrass or macroalgae areas at depths of about 5-85 m.


Dorsal fin XII, 8; Anal fin 111, 10; Pectoral fin ii, 13-14; Lateral-line scales 27 + 2; Predorsal scales 5-7; Scales above lateral line 3-3 1/2. 
Body and head shallow, becoming moderately deep in large adults, body depth 26.6-37.1%SL. Eye large. Predorsal scales reaching forward to above midpoint between hind margin of eye and hind edge of preopercle. Cheek scales reaching forward to below anterior extent of orbit; moderately narrow naked margin along free edge of preopercle; subopercle with 5-9 uniserial scales reaching forward to below centre of eye. Lateral-line scales usually without accessory branches associated with sensory pore. Upper jaw with two pairs of prominent ventrally directed canines anteriorly, anteriormost about twice the size of second; upper jaw without posterior canines. Lower jaw with two pairs of prominent anterior canines, anteriormost much smaller than second; second pair strongly curved laterally.
Caudal fin broadly wedge-shaped, upper and lower corners each produced into slight lobe. Pectoral fin rather pointed dorsoposteriorly, with lower ray produced, giving hind margin of fin lunate appearance.


Juveniles pale with narrow dusky midlateral stripe on sides extending from opercular margin onto caudal fin; small triangular dark mark extending from lateral stripe above pectoral-fin base toward lateral line. 
Initial and terminal phase individuals pale with hazy angled dark slash on side about midway between pectoral-fin base and dorsal profile of side; small dark spot at upper end of pectoral-fin base and short narrow dark mark near centre of hind margin of caudal-fin. 


Wedgetail Tuskfish is regularly taken as bycatch in the prawn trawl fishery.


The specific name is from the Latin sugillatum (= black and blue spot), in reference to the characteristic marking on the side of this species.

Species Citation

Choerodon sugillatum Gomon 1987. Mem. Mus. Vic. 48(1): 19. Type locality: Cape Bedford, Queensland.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Wedgetail Tuskfish, Choerodon sugillatum Gomon 1987


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

Allen, G.R. & Randall, J.E. 2002. A new species of wrasse (Labridae: Choerodon) from the tropical western Pacific. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 5(3): 109-113.

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.

Blaber, S.J.M., Brewer, D.T. & Harris, A.N. 1994. Distribution, biomass and community structure of demersal fishes of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45(3): 375-396 

Cheung, W.W.L., Pollard, D. & Liu, M. 2010. Choerodon sugillatum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. . Downloaded on 23 July 2015.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. 
(as Choerodon sp. 2)

Gomon, M.F. 1987. New Australian Fishes. Part 6. New species of Lepidotrigla (Triglidae), Choerodon (Labridae) and Zebrias (Soleidae). Memoirs of Museum Victoria 48(1): 17-23 fig. 1

Gomon, M.F. 2017. A review of the tuskfishes, genus Choerodon (Labridae, Perciformes), with descriptions of three new species. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 76: 1-111

Kuiter, R.H. 2010. Labridae fishes: wrasses. Seaford, Victoria, Australia : Aquatic Photographics pp. 398. 

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

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. (as Choerodon sp. 2)

Stobutzki, I., Miller, M. & Brewer, D. 2001. Sustainability of fishery bycatch: a process for assessing highly diverse and numerous bycatch. Environmental Conservation 28(2): 167-181.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37384009

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:5-85 m

Habitat:Sandy, weedy areas

Max Size:15 cm SL


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CAAB distribution map