Baldchin Groper

Choerodon Rubescens
Baldchin Groper - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Choerodon Rubescens
Other names Baldchin Tuskfish, Baldchin Wrasse, Baldies, Tuskfish, Westralian Baldchin Groper
Size Up to 1 m (3.28 ft)
Weight Up to 7 kg (15.4 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst inshore/offshore reefs, weedy areas near reefs
Depth Range 2 - 50 m (164 ft)
Baldchin Groper Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Baldchin Gropers are endemic to Western Australia, specifically distributed between Shark Bay and Recherche Archipelago. This limited distribution contributes to their vulnerability.
  • They have a robust, elongated body, and their heads are pointed, with large mouths and lips. Baldchin Gropers are known for their noticeable “bald” chin without scales, and distinctive markings and coloration. They exhibit a wide range of colours, from pink, purple, to green, with two dark vertical bars across their body.
  • They are carnivores that primarily feed on molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms, and small fish.
  • Baldchin Gropers can show territorial aggressive behaviour, especially males towards other males. They might use a head-down posture, rapid swimming, or even physical attacks to defend their territory.
  • Juvenile fish are often found in shallow seagrass habitats. As they grow older, they move to deeper reef environments. The availability of these different habitats at various life stages is crucial for their survival and growth.
  • They are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they first mature as females and have the ability to change sex to male later in life. Spawning usually occurs between September and November, with eggs and larvae being pelagic.
  • They are a long lived species with a estimated lifespan up to 20 years or more in the wild.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Snorkeling & Diving

Baldchin Gropers are a popular target for recreational fishing, especially in Western Australia. They are renowned for their fighting spirit when hooked and are considered a delicacy, with firm, white flesh that is prized by anglers. They are known to be quite bold and often approach divers and snorkelers out of curiosity, making them an interesting species to observe in the wild. Their vibrant coloration make them a popular subject for underwater photography.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Choerodon

Species: Choerodon Rubescens

Conservation Status

The Baldchin Groper’s status on the IUCN Red List is not evaluated. It is however listed as a Priority Species in the West Coast Bioregion by Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development due to its slow growth, long lifespan, and late maturity.

Fish Taste Quality

Baldchin Groper are a great eating fish and are considered a delicacy. They have firm, white flesh that holds up well to various cooking methods. Their meat is described as sweet and mild, making it appealing to a wide range of palates.

Taste Rating: 4/5

How to catch
Baldchin Groper

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms, Soft plastics

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Highly targeted

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Curious

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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