Cloud Wrasse

Halichoeres Nebulosus
Cloud Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Halichoeres Nebulosus
Other names Clouded Rainbowfish, Clouded Wrasse, Nebulous Wrasse, Picture Wrasse
Size Up to 12 cm (4.72 in)
Weight Under 100 grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst reef edges, flats, rocky areas & weeds
Depth Range 1 - 30 m (98 ft)
Cloud Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Cloud Wrasse is a species of marine fish found in Australia’s tropical and subtropical waters, specifically along the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea. They are also found in northern Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
  • They are known as the “Cloud Wrasse” due to the white and blue coloration of its body, which looks like a cloud.
  • The Cloud Wrasse has a protruding lower jaw, which it uses to root through the substrate in search of prey. In addition, they have a specialised pharyngeal set of teeth, which they use to crush hard-shelled prey.
  • They are a carnivorous fish and feed on small invertebrates such as crabs, worms, and small fishes.
  • They are solitary fish and are known to be quite territorial.
  • The species has been observed exhibiting cooperative hunting behaviour, where individuals work together to catch prey.
  • They are known to produce a grunting sound during courtship and spawning events, which can be heard by divers and snorkelers.
  • Breeding occurs during the warmer months from late spring to early autumn. They are broadcast spawners, releasing their eggs and sperm into the water column for fertilisation to occur. The eggs hatch into larvae, which are planktonic and drift with the ocean currents for several weeks before settling on the substrate.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 5 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

The Cloud Wrasse is a beautiful and fascinating fish to observe in the wild. They are typically found in shallow coral reefs, lagoons, and rocky areas along the coast of Australia. Their incredible colours and hardness also makes them a favourite for aquariums.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Halichoeres

Species: Halichoeres Nebulosus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Cloud 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 currently considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

Cloud Wrasse
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Easy to moderate

Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Diet: Carnivore

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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