Comb Wrasse

Coris Picta
Comb Wrasse - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Coris Picta
Other names Australian Comb Wrasse, Bananafish, Combfish
Size Up to 25 cm (9.84 in)
Weight Up to 1 kg (2.2 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, lagoons in sandy areas & outer edges of coral & rocky reefs
Depth Range 3 - 30 m (98 ft)
Comb Wrasse Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Comb Wrasse is a marine fish species that can be found in the waters surrounding eastern Australia, including New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria.
  • The Comb Wrasse has a distinct appearance, with a bright blue-green head and red-orange body, often marked by a white stripe between the two colours, as well as metallic scales and small blue dots on the head and fins. Some individuals may have white or cream colours on their underside, giving them a mottled appearance.
  • They primarily feed on small invertebrates, such as crustaceans, molluscs, and worms. They also consume algae and other plant material.
  • They are a diurnal species, which means that they are most active during the day and rest at night.
  • They are a solitary species and can be territorial, especially towards other Comb Wrasse.
  • The Comb Wrasse is a protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning that they start their life as females and can later change to males.
  • Breeding occurs during summer and autumn, with males building nests in rocky crevices to attract females.
  • Estimated lifespan is up to 15 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Snorkeling & Diving

The Comb Wrasse is not a highly targeted species for recreational fishing in Australia, but they can be caught by anglers who are targeting other species or using baited hooks (bycatch). Comb Wrasse are a colourful and active fish species that can be a joy to observe for snorkelers and divers. They are commonly found in shallow waters near rocky or coral reef habitats.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Coris

Species: Coris Picta

Conservation Status

The Comb Wrasse is not listed as a threatened or protected species in Australia, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Fish Taste Quality

Comb wrasse are considered to be good eating fish. They have firm, white flesh that is said to be mild and slightly sweet in flavour.

Taste Rating: 3/5

How to catch
Comb Wrasse

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

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

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Not targeted - Bycatch

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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