When young, the axilspot wrasse eats mainly small parasites. It catches these by cleaning other, larger fishes.
  • Size

    8 inches (20 cm)
  • Diet

    Benthic hard-shelled invertebrates, such as mollusks and crustaceans
  • Range

  • Habitat

    Clear lagoon areas and seaward reefs

Physical Characteristics

  • Undergoes a dramatic color change as it grows.
  • Juvenile and female have a generally black body with large white spots.
  • Adult male has large black spots on the soft parts of the dorsal and anal fins.

Animal Fact

The axilspot wrasse can grow to a length of about 8 inches (20 cm).

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists mostly of benthic hard-shelled invertebrates, such as mollusks and crustaceans.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea to South Africa, east to the Marshall, Marquesan and Tuamoto Islands and north to Japan.
  • Found in clear lagoon areas and seaward reefs in depths 6.5 to 328 feet (2-100 m). Juvenile is found in caves or under ledges.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Juvenile acts as cleaner fish by picking parasites off bodies of other fish. An adult will occasionally do this.


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