Bluehead Wrasse

Thalassoma Amblycephalum
Bluehead Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Thalassoma Amblycephalum
Other names Bluntheaded Wrasse, Moon Wrasse, Paddlefin Wrasse, Twotone Wrasse
Size Up to 16 cm (6.29 in)
Weight Up to .20 kg (.44 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Shallow coastal waters on rocky & coral reefs
Depth Range 2 - 30 m (100 ft)
Bluehead Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The bluehead wrasse, is a species of wrasse found in Australia. They are commonly found in the Great Barrier Reef, as well as other reefs and rocky areas along the western, eastern and southern coasts of Australia.
  • They are known for their distinctive coloration, which includes a bright blue head and throat, and a greenish-yellow body with pinkish-red spots. Males are larger than females and have a more intense blue coloration on their head and throat.
  • Bluehead wrasses feed on small invertebrates and crustaceans, as well as algae and other plant matter.
  • They are active during the day and typically rest at night in small crevices or holes in the reef. In addition, they are often found in small groups or pairs, and males will defend their territory from other males.
  • They are known to exhibit a behaviour called “cleaning symbiosis,” where they will remove parasites from the skin of larger fish in exchange for protection.
  • Male bluehead wrasses establish a territory on the reef and attract a group of females. During courtship, the male performs a display to attract the female, and they spawn together with the female releasing her eggs and the male fertilising them externally. After spawning, the male protects the eggs until they hatch, which takes a few days.
  • The estimated lifespan is between 5 – 7 years in the wild.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

The bluehead wrasse is a popular species for marine aquariums due to their striking coloration and active behaviour. This also makes them a reef favourite for snorkelers and divers.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Thalassoma

Species: Thalassoma Amblycephalum

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the bluehead wrasse in Australia is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that the species is not considered to be at significant risk of extinction or population decline in the foreseeable future.

Bluehead Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Diet: Omnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 80 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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