Blackspotted Wrasse

Austrolabrus Maculates
Blackspotted Wrasse - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Austrolabrus Maculates
Other names Blackspotted Parrot Fish
Size Up to 13 cm (5.1 in)
Weight Under 150 grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, deeper coral & rocky reefs amongst ledges, drop offs & spongy areas
Depth Range 3 - 30 m (100 ft)
Blackspotted Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Blackspotted Wrasse is distributed along the southern coast of Australia, from southern Queensland to Western Australia, including sightings in Tasmania. It prefers rocky reef environments with abundant hiding places and crevices.
  • They have a distinctive appearance. It features a slender, elongated body with a pointed snout and large, round eyes. The body coloration is primarily reddish-brown with dark black spots covering the entire body, hence its common name.
  • The Blackspotted Wrasse feeds primarily on small invertebrates such as crustaceans, worms, and molluscs. They use their protractile mouth to extract prey from crevices and cracks in the reef.
  • They are known for their agile swimming and manoeuvrability, making them adept at navigating through complex reef structures and chasing prey in small crevices.
  • The males of this species can undergo dramatic colour changes during breeding season. They develop a bright blue head and fins, contrasting with the reddish-brown body, as a courtship display to attract females.
  • Breeding season for Blackspotted Wrasse typically occurs during the warmer months, from spring to summer (September to February), when water temperatures rise and conditions are more favourable for reproduction.
  • Male Blackspotted Wrasse are highly territorial during breeding season, establishing and defending their own small territories where they court females and spawn with multiple partners.
  • Their estimated average lifespan is between 5 – 7 years and up to 10 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Blackspotted Wrasse are not a primary target species for most anglers. They are often caught incidentally while targeting other reef fish species, as they readily take bait or lures. Due to their striking colours and active behaviour, Blackspotted Wrasses are popular subjects for underwater divers and snorkelers. Their vibrant patterns and interactions with other fish make for captivating observations. Their magnificent colours also make them popular for home aquariums.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Austrolabrus

Species: Austrolabrus Maculates

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Blackspotted Wrasse is listed as Least Concern in Australia. This means that it is not currently considered to be at risk of extinction and is relatively abundant throughout its range.

How to catch
Blackspotted Wrasse

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

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

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Not targeted - Bycatch

Blackspotted Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None