Cockerel Wrasse

Pteragogus Enneacanthus
Cockerel Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Pteragogus Enneacanthus
Other names Cockatiel Fish, Flagfin Wrasse, Redstriped Wrasse, Redbelly Wrasse
Size Up to 15 cm (5.9 in)
Weight Up to .20 kg (.44 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst inshore/offshore reefs associated with weedy areas
Depth Range 0 - 20 m (66 ft)
Cockerel Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Cockerel Wrasse is commonly found in the waters around Australia, especially along the eastern and western coasts.
  • They are a colourful fish that is easily recognisable by its reddish body and distinctive markings. Adult males typically have a bright blue and green coloration on their head, fins, and upper body, with a reddish-orange colour on their lower body and belly. The blue and green coloration can be particularly vivid, especially when the male is displaying or defending its territory.
  • Cockerel Wrasse have been observed engaging in a unique feeding behaviour known as “suction feeding,” where they use their specialised jaw muscles to create a vacuum that pulls in small prey items.
  • They feed primarily on small invertebrates such as crustaceans and molluscs.
  • The species is known to be a host for several parasites, including various species of copepods and flatworms.
  • Cockerel Wrasse are known to form spawning aggregations, where males and females come together to spawn. Spawning typically occurs during the summer months, although the exact timing can vary depending on the location and environmental conditions.
  • The estimated lifespan is between 5 – 8 years in the wild.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Cockerel Wrasse are a popular species among hobbyists due to their colourful appearance and active, playful behaviour. Cockerel Wrasse can be an enjoyable species to observe for both snorkelers and divers, particularly for those interested in marine life and underwater photography.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Pteragogus

Species: Pteragogus Enneacanthus

Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species does not have an assessment for this species, and the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment does not list the Cockerel Wrasse as a protected species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Cockerel 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, Caves, Lagoon

Danger: None

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